Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Crimean War Brits Painted

These are the last few figures to complete my collection of the Light Division for the Crimean War - a foot artillery gun and crew plus two senior officers - all by Great War Miniatures. I may try and get an equivalent RHA gun crew from Foundry but that may never happen.

Tonight, its been back to Old Glory Indian infantry for use in our upcoming WW1 in E Africa project.

Crimean War British Foot Artillery crew and gun

The Russian view of the RA gun and crew

Two more views showing the RA crew from different angles

Above and below - the first senior British officer

Above and below - the second senior officer

These are really nice figures with great, crisp detail, that makes them simple to paint. I am very pleased with how they came out.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Solo Trial Game - modern version of Iron Cross

So obviously, by the title, I was quite taken with the rule set we tried out last night! As my family are all away for a long weekend and I am "home alone" Sat, Sun and Mon this week, I have an opportunity to commandeer the dining room table and stay inside playing with toy soldiers on a beautiful, warm, sunny New Zealand summers day - sacrilege!

I spent an hour or so looking over the QRS sheets for Iron Cross that my mate provided me with yesterday and created some stats for modern British and US forces as well as incorporating some       " off board support" elements, such as artillery, attack helicopters and fast air.

I then dug out box loads of 15mm terrain and figures, dice, stuff I could use to mark command points and morale hits etc and by around 10am, I was ready to give it a go.

I spent the next 2-3 hours playing a solo game between a Taliban force and a British forces comprised as follows

Taliban                                                                    British
2 Mortars                                                                 1 Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicle
2 HMG                                                                     2 WMIK Landrovers
8 infantry stands                                                       8 Stands of infantry

Total 12 command points                                         Total 10 command points

All the figures used are Old Glory Command Decision 15mm with a couple of exceptions I wont mention here as it may spoil the surprise!

As I went, I recorded a blow by blow summary of the action.

My entire collection of 15mm OG Modern Brits

British vehicles - Warrior IFV with and without up armour kits, Saxon APC's and four WMIK Landrovers

My Taliban - possibly need some more of these guys and maybe some technicals etc

The game table I set up - two compounds with surrounding buildings, fields, woods and a hill at each end

The British force - I didn't take a similar team photo of Terry Taliban...

First Taliban unit in compound one

Second Taliban unit in compound two

The two Taliban mortars on the heights overlooking the village... to get going, I rolled two D6 - a red one for the Brits and black for the Talibs. The result was 4 - 1 in the Talibs favour and they started the action

The Talib activated one of their mortars and targeted a WMIK Landrover, scoring a couple of hits. They repeated this and the WMIK passed a pull back test to get out of the target area.

The second Talib mortar gave a repeat performance on WMIK number two!

There was change of initiative and the Brits advanced. The Warrior IFV decided to move and fire at the Talib mortar at the far end of the table - they rolled 9 and 5 meaning a hit then got a second hit on the D6 roll. They tried this again but this time did not achieve any hits.
The WMIK's then moved forward but were interrupted by the Talib mortar, which scored more hits on one of the vehicles and destroyed it - the one stand of infantry passengers dismounted sharply! The Warrior engaged the mortar team again and scored one more hit

The last couple of command tokens on the Talib side in move one were used repositioning an HMG and supporting AK armed troops to a building within 12" of the dismounted WMIK passengers. The HMG engaged with 2 x D10 needing 5+ but scored two 2's, so missed!

The view from the British entry point as one of the two WMIKs burns!

Move Two - Talib rolled 6 to Brits 3, so they had first initiative again. They decided to attempt to relocate the mortar teams to a position not under Brit observation - the IFV interrupted the move and scored an additional two hits, wiping out one mortar. The second mortar succeeded in moving out of sight. The Talib HMG in the building engaged the dismounted Brits from the destroyed WMIK and scored another two hits on them The HMG tried to do the same again - a Brit attempted interruption failed - but all the Talib shots went wide!

The Talib unit in compound two decided to relocate - their HMG gunner went solo up the hill overlooking the two Brit WMIKs whilst the rest of them headed towards compound one.

The HMG on the hill engaged the Brits below him and scored a hit. The gunner tried again - a Brit attempt to pull back failed - but the HMG missed entirely

Dismounted Brits troops in cover and under fire from HMG on heights above. The initiative changed and the WMIK 50 cal fired at the Talib HMG above but didn't hit him

The infantry passengers of the Warrior dismounted and took cover in an adjacent walled garden. The Talib attempted to interrupt but failed. The Warrior edged forward to get a better view of the Talib in compound one and engaged them - but missed. Initiative passed back to the Talib.

The Talib continued their redeployment with the group from compound two now in position behind compound one. Having completed this manouvre, they passed initiative back to the Brits. A SAW team lined up their sights on the Talib on the tower of compound one but their targets performed a successful fall back so the hail of bullets hit nothing but air.

That was the end of turn two and in the initiative roll, the Brits won for the first time with a 3 to the Talib 1. The WMIK engaged the Talib HMG with its 50 cal again and scored two hits. The crew attempted to repeat this success but the Talib HMG beat a hasty retreat into the woods! The 50mm mortar from the Warrior dismounts had two shots at the other Talib HMG on the top of a nearby building - first attempt missed but on the second they got two hits. The dismounted infantry from the WMIK tried the same target, the Talib failed to pull back....and the infantrymen missed. The relocated Talib mortar attempted a couple of shots at the dismounted Warrior team - they scored a couple of hits.
The Talib sheltering behind the compound popped their heads up to use an RPG on the Warrior. The IFV attempted to interrupt but failed and the Talib rolled a 3 - added to their armour hit value of 6, the resulting score of 9 was well short of the Warriors 12 armour.

The Talib attempted a second shot but the Warrior successfully interrupted and scored two hits on the RPG crew. This was the end of turn three.

The Brits won the initiative roll 5 - 3. They decided to use 4 of their 9 available command tokens and call in  "Ugly 99" an Army Air Corps Apache attack helicopter. The Apache targeted the Talib group adjacent to compound one, including the RPG team. The pilot scored a maximum 3 hits and one unit of Talib was wiped out.

Ugly 99 on station looking for more targets to engage

The WMIK 50 cal took another shot at the Talib HMG in the building and wiped them out - the Brits were suddenly beginning to get the upper hand

Ugly 99 looking down on the Talib forces in compound one. The remainder of the Talib force outside the compound withdrew to cover. The last Talib mortar made three attempts in a row to drop rounds on the same Brit unit as on the previous occasions - all three attempts failed! Initiative went back to the Brits

The WMIK engaged and destroyed the remaining HMG in the woods on the hill, then repositioned onto the high ground to act as a Fire Support Group. The initiative went back to the Talib who put spotters back up in the tower of compound one and called in mortar fire again. The Brits interrupted, the Warrior firing HMG at the spotters, who in turn fell back to cover again. That was the end of turn four. In the initiative roll, I got two 1's, then two 2's, then two 1's again! On the fourth attempt, the Brits won 4 - 2.

Well it worked a treat last time, so the Brit JTAC called Ugly 99 in on the Talib who had survived the previous strike, now hiding in cover to the rear of compound one. That was another 4 of a possible 9 command points, but worth every penny!

Ugly 99 lines up a hellfire missile - rolled 3 hits on the D10 and an additional hit with a D6

The smoke and flame indicate where Terry Taliban had been hiding prior to the last action

I decided to call it a day at this point - the Taliban had been given a hiding in the end although they did inflict some casualties early on in the game and if their second mortar crew had been a bit better trained, they could have killed off half of the infantry dismounts from the Warrior IFV. The last few pics are just for fun! Above, an RAF Tornado makes a " hearts and minds" pass "pour encourage" the Talib to disengage

The remaining Talib from compound one make a strategic withdrawal

The remaining Brits enter the village - note the morale hits they are carrying - two units were one more hit away from being wiped out

The last photo of the victorious Brits

The battle toll was as follows :

Brits lost one WMIK and had two infantry units with 4 shock each

Talib lost HMG, one mortar and one infantry unit.

The rules worked well for the modern period - I may adjust the helicopter - it may not have been costly enough in command points and possibly hitting on a 4+ on D10 was too generous too - although I rolled 8 9 and 10 when I was using the Apache anyway, so they would still have been hits.....!

Friday, 27 January 2017

Another new rule set............(sigh)

Tonight three of us played a WW2 game with a rule set called "Iron Cross". This a rule set that gets away from the U go I go formula and uses activation points and the ability to attempt to interrupt the opposing player during their activation phase to create a more kinetic battle field. Some of the mechanisms are reminiscent of ultra modern systems like Force on Force or Skirmish Sangin.

In basic terms, you decide on the forces and then these determine how many activation counters you have EG if you have a force of 3 tanks and 2 halftracks with two sections of infantry each, plus a command element, you would get one point for each vehicle, plus one for each section and an extra for the command - so a total of 3 for the tanks and 4 for the infantry plus 1 for the command ( note you do not get 1 each for the halftracks because you count the troops they carry instead..)

A "turn" goes on until both sides have used up all their activation tokens and can take quite some time - and the initiative can change backwards and forwards due to the fact that if, when a player tries to interrupt an opponent, he succeeds by rolling a 6, the initiative changes to that player. We played for about two and a half hours and only had two full turns, finishing the game as turn three was ending!

I quite liked the rules and the mechanisms they used - they had a similar feel to Crossfire in some ways - a lot of the ways that things happen were different, but the idea that there is no set move and players are not able to move and fire every unit on each turn in a preset sequence like most rule sets, had the same flavor of unpredictability that I like in Crossfire.

Anyway, Chris and I were the Germans of Kampfgruppe Pfeiffer during the Battle of the Bulge and Mr Bell was the US forces trying to stem the flow.

We Germans each had 1 x Tiger 1, 2 x PzKfw IV H,  1 x SdKfz 250 command car and 3 x SdKfz 251 carriers with two units of infantry each - so a total of 11 activation points each

The US had three 57mm AT guns, 2 mortars, and 6 stands of infantry on the table initially, with 3 M10 tank destroyers and 3 M3 halftracks each carrying two infantry units as reinforcements on the second turn - total of 20 points. The AT guns and infantry were deployed to prevent the Germans crossing the only bridge, with the mortars in the rear to provide indirect fire support.

The initial layout of the table - the Germans were assaulting from the far side with the aim of capturing control of the bridge. Infantry could ford the river at any point but vehicles could only cross by the bridge.

Initial German deployment - the two units in a bit of a traffic jam on the approach road to the bridge

Closer view - my command 250 is the one in the left centre

After a few activations of turn one - my Tiger is engaged in a dual with an AT gun whilst one of my Mk IV's has been brewed up by another AT gun

Chris's Kamfgruppe deploys to the left of the bridge

A view from the hill on the right flank where my Tiger took up residence for the entire game.

My panzer grenadiers debus just short of the crossroads leading to the bridge

Chris's panzer grenadiers also dismount on the left flank and prepare to assault across the river. At this point, I had knocked out one US AT gun and so had Chris, with the third deployed far behind the front line facing my right flank.

The view from behind Chris's Tiger as it covers the German left flank. In the woods to the immediate right front, his two Mk IV's wait in cover

Chris attempted a mass assault across the river at a time when the US forces were redeploying and had withdrawn into the wood and therefore could not engage the Germans as they crossed the river,. Unfortunately, only one of the three units succeeded in advancing - the other two remained on our side of the river. In ensuing activations the US forces in the woods managed to drive this loan German unit back across the river and inflicted severe damage on them in the process

The US player miscalculated his advance with two of his three M10's up the road towards the bridge and then drew attention to the fact by pointing out his M10 could see my Tiger. Of course, this meant the same was true in reverse, so when Julian tried to fire on my Tiger, I interrupted his move and returned the compliment, brewing up his M10!

View from the hill where my Tiger has been joined by my second Mk IV and one of the 251 carriers

Next activation and my Mk IV has brewed up an M3 half track. Chris had in the meantime done the same to an M3 on the other flank with long range shooting by his Tiger

My Tiger then advanced slightly and engaged the second M10, with the same result as in the previous case. The US was now down to one M10 and one AT gun, plus some infantry - we still had two Tigers and three of four Mk IV's

The end is nigh! With a bit of psyops, we conned Julian into using up a heap of his activation points, leaving us with about 6 or 8 each to his remaining 3. This is one of the critical tactical elements to this rule set - you can get into a position where you get activation after activation and the opponent cant react to your moves because he has no activation points left. This enabled Chris to advance straight up the road with his two Mk IV's., while I engaged and destroyed the last AT gun, and then Chris drove straight over the bridge, round the burning US armour, and popped a 75mm AT round right up the ass of the last remaining M10!

The view from the US side - Chris's Mk IV is in the woods in the top left and the final M10 is burning in the very centre bottom of the photo

Meanwhile, my Tiger on the hill did a little target practice and blew up another M3 halftrack

The German advance - Chris's second Mk IV is on the bridge and two of my three infantry units have crossed the river and hold the bocage line on the US side. My Tiger and Mk IV can be seen on ntheir hill in the top left and my infantry carriers are pushing down the road behind Chris's armour.

A final view from the German left flank - Chris's infantry supported by HMG fire from the 251 carriers hold the river line ready to exploit forwards

This was a fun game and I found the rules simple to pick up and understand. There are some interesting little nuances in the rules and they generally seemed to work well. I was a bit dubious when a 57mmAT gun took out my MK IV after the first couple of activations, but that turned out to have been a bit of a fluke and it didn't happen again. The mortars were pretty useless - Julian used them quite a lot and only got on target with them once in the whole game I think. All in all, these rules are a good find and I will be happy to give them another go sometime very soon!