After Action Report – 1st March, 2016

Guadalcanal for Bolt Action:

words and pictures by Stuart.

 

We’ve been fans of Bolt Action for a while at the local club. It’s a nice simple set of rules which means it’s easy to play a pick up game. You need to be a little organised with your force and know what you have and how much points this is worth for a balanced game, but it doesn’t take much to chuck some scenery on the table and crack on.

 

Sometimes however you want a little more detail and depth. And so it was that we picked Guadalcanal as the setting for a series of linked game using our newly acquired Japanese and US Marines.

 

The Bolt Action source book “Empires in Flames” has an excellent level of introductory background detail for the whole of the war in Asia and some great scenarios. A few weeks back we played Alligator creek and the Japanese managed to sneak a squad across the river on the last turn to secure a marginal victory. Next time I will deploy my Marines on the river bank!!

 

Last nights game was a follow up action – The Raid on Tasimboko. After Alligator Creek the marines  sent a force by destroyer to raid a Japanese encampment and supply base. Initial reports suggested that large number of troops were deployed there but the marine CO chose to ignore this. Despite landing and passing signs of large numbers of enemy in the area the village was only lightly defended by a rearguard force. These guys still managed to hold up the raiders until they were flanked and gave them a scare by opening up with a 75mm howitzer over open sights. However the marines carried the day and secured some vital intelligence info which served them well later in the campaign.

 

Our game featured a scaled down version of the attack. In stead of the company level action we took down to a squad level game with two waves of two Marine raider squads attacking two Japanese squads. The Japanese defender had a number of support weapons but a limited number of personnel – crew for the weapons had to be told off from his rifle squads and counted as inexperienced when using the guns and MMG. This gave the defence a disorganised feel but didn’t cripple the Japanese player. The whole board was open jungle except for a strip down the table edge representing the beach and coast area.

 

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The marines moved up from the jungle in two waves, one to the front and the second arriving on turn 4 from the flank. Their rifle and BAR  fire managed to keep the defenders back and pinned down while they advanced. The marines were also able to call in support fire which whilst it did not kill any defenders made them duck back with several pin markers. The Japanese 75 opened up as did the MMG  and caused some light casualties which were swiftly attended to by the marine medic.

 

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The critical part of the game came when the crew of the Japanese 75 were driven off by a poor morale test and the marines were able to concentrate on knocking out the MMG. With that threat gone the closed to short range on both the front and flank.

 

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It didn’t go all their own way however – a last gasp banzai charge by the defenders took out a marine squad, but by this time the rest of the defenders were dead and three marine squads were at the edge of the village. The game was over.

 

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A fairly close result to the historical battle, even with the scaled back size of the game!

 

After Action Report – 19th January, 2016

1775: The American Revolution
words & pictures by Mike

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The 1775 board game is from ACADEMY GAMES and can be played by up to four players. Sides are British Regular (Red) Tory Militia (Yellow) Continental (Blue) Continental Militia (White), French Regular (Purple) – allied to the Continentals, Hessians ( Orange) – allied to the British, Native Indians (Green) – see below for allegiance.

Once setup there are eight possible turns. Victory conditions are assessed at the end of each game, after turn two. The game can end earlier if any side plays their TRUCE cards. Victory conditions are simple, the person with the most COLONIES wins. There are sixteen colonies with varying amounts of areas to control. You gain control, and place a related flag token, when you occupy at least one area and there are no opposing factions in any of the remaining areas of the colony.

Note: Native Indians can be allied to both sides. If your faction moves in to an area which contains Native Indians then they then become allied and can move and fight with your army. If you leave them alone then they could become allied to whoever next comes in to their area. If not allied then they count against your faction controlling a colony.

Faction coloured dice are put into a bag and drawn. That drawn faction then goes. Each turn the faction colour gets four reinforcement’s and whatever is in the FLED UNIT  holding area. These must be place in a city, in a colony, you control. This makes for some interesting games as you cannot place them anywhere. You need to think and plan ahead of time and make sure you control colonies. Each player ( Red,Blue, Yellow, White) have eight movement cards and a number of event cards. A movement card is then played which indicates the amount of armies and areas you can move to. Up to two event cards can also be played during the factions turn. Although there are a few which can be played if you are attacked.

At the end of movement battle commences if different opposing factions are in the same area. Each faction has its own coloured dice which determines combat results. Possible results are Hit, Flee, or Miss leading to either Stay or Withdraw. The number of dice rolled is determined by the amount of blocks of each colour in a battle and allotted dice. i.e. the British regulars have a maximum three dice. If they have say five blocks then they can only throw a maximum of three dice per round. Battle continues until there is only one side left in the area.

That’s about it

So how did our game go?

The Continentals fared well around the central board, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, kicking the Brits out of Boston. The British gained control of the North and clung on to the South. However with the arrival of the French in the South the British and Tories were sent packing. This now meant that the British and Tories could now not reinforce the South.

With the South gone the British now made in-roads in to Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and retook Boston. There was plenty of back-and-forth fighting which saw, as with the British and Tories in the South, limited re-enforcing opportunities for the Continentals.

The game ended before turn eight as the Continentals played both their truce cards and made two sea born attacks from the South leading to Maryland and Rhode Island falling. This tipped the balance, five colonies to four, and the Continental Rebels won the day.

 

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After Action Report – 5th January, 2016

USAAF learn how to fly……

A “Bolt Action” scenario

Tuesday night saw a Bolt Action scenario – capture and take off the board secret documents hidden in a vehicle in the centre of the table – between USA forces and a mixed force of Germans. NB with the amount of rain we’ve had lately we elected to use the club river sections as wet roads, it only seemed right.

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The German Assault troops took quick advantage of sluggish US movement and quickly closed on the prize, however at some cost as a US MMG caught them in the open…nasty!.

US troops started to envelope both wings. Their left coming up against stiff German resistance and they had to pull back with heavy losses. The US right was the opposite with the doctrine of move and fire showing itself to be quite useful! The Kriegsmarine unit were on the receiving end of this onslaught and quickly dissolved.

Whilst this was going on the captured secrets were making their way to the German edge of the board and victory. Time for the now notorious ill fated USAAF to make and appearance. However after failing to appear US heads started to drop, As with all other games we’ve had the USAAF showed themselves to be particularly adept at attacking their own troops, blue on blue style, so breaths were being held all round! The next turn however it appeared and decimated some German assault troops ( x11 hits!)…ouch!

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Not to be put off the Germans started to roll up their right wing, and, confidence increasing, made swift progress to the table edge with the booty.

Noting a potential defeat in the making US troop manoeuvred quickly and put to flight the group holding the prize.

Undeterred the prize was picked up by a German officer

The scenario ran for six turns with an option for more, dependant on die roll. We ended up with one more turn before scenario end. It was a case of which coloured die came out first……

It was German and with typical flair the officer sprinted for the table edge and off to collect his medal!

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A German victory and enjoyable game.

 

Words & pictures by Mike

After Action Report – 12th January, 2016

The Battle of Santo Malanca

Taking advantage of cold weather but low snow levels the Austrians under Kollorfeldt launched a column with the objective of seizing the import town of Santo Malanca. However Kollorfeldt, presuming his opponent was unable to fight in the wintery conditions gives little thought to scouting or screening his flanks and allows his Croats to bring up the rear.

Unbeknownst to him, Campari’s General Avvio has not only managed to locate the Austrian column but is about to launch an attack on his line of March…….

With the town a little way up the valley, Kollorfeldt was sure that he would be able to seize it and it’s important bridge and settle down somewhere warm in time for supper. His reverie was disturbed when a trooper from the Dragoon regiment providing the advance guard rode up and told him the way was blocked by red coated infantry. He had little time to think before the sound of artillery came from his right flank and he knew he had blundered into a trap.

Kollorfeldt ordered his first two infantry units forward, together with the dragoons. He would lead an attempt to burst the through the blocking force. Order were sent to General Gummstiefel to turn the rearmost elements of the column to face the flank attack and to send the Croats round their flank to force them to disengage.

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The dragoon’s cantered up in the powdery snow and drew their swords their change was short, and already they could see that their own flank was in danger from Avvio’s cavalry. As they closed with their foe a strong volley of musketry rolled out and cleared many of the brave men from their saddles. The charge closed, but the horses wouldn’t press home against the line of steel. They recoiled and a second charge went in. More musketry and more saddles cleared. Madness perhaps, but success would clear they way for the infantry and open the road ahead for the column.

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Kollorfeldt cursed as he watched the dragoons fail to batter through the enemy infantry. As a young ensign he had charged with Eugene and against the Turks – cavalry was unstoppable then. He turned and ordered his men to deploy into line. He would have to shoot his way clear.

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At the rear Gummstiefel was in trouble. The Croats advance had forced the artillery to draw back but Kollorfeldt’s movement to the front had split the column in two and now he was flanked by Campari re was little he could but try and find space to fight so he ordered his regiment about and started to retire. He called for a messenger to pass a note to the Kollorfeldt – but he had scarcely time to dictate his message when the man when down in a hail of lead. A quarter of the regiment lay dead around him – Gummstiefel prayed for nightfall.

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Kollorfeldt’s advance had ground to a halt and now it was clear there was little he could do. All around him his men lay dying, cut down by the sabres of attacking cavalry or shot by heavy volleys of musketry. How would he survive the disgrace of this defeat? In the last rays of the winter sun he saw his chance – he ordered his staff to draw their swords and together they spurred their horses forward, galloping clear of the carnage the small band cut through the Campari ring and away form the battle. Someone had to bring the news to imperial headquarters – Gummstiefel was clearly to blame for losing contact with the rest of the column and had dragged the whole lot to destruction….yes..that would do….

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Some notes:
A scenario based on one from Neil Thomas’s One Hour Wargames and in turn based on Salamanca. Alistairs’s Austrians had two choices, stand and fight it out or try to cut their way clear. Andy’s Campari  army managed to defeat them in detail once the colon had broken up, but it could have been different had Alistairs dragoons cut their way through or Andy’s cavalry ran out of space then they galloped into the the gap between two Austrian regiments! A nice simple game, but a tough one.

Words & photos by Stuart

Tuesday 15th December, 2015 – Oldmeldrum Wargames Club AGM

Folks,

Just a reminder for the clubs AGM to be held at the Oldmeldrum British Legion on Tuesday 15th December, 2015 @ 7:30pm.

Please read up on the club constitution ahead of time to see what the AGM will cover. Should you wish anything to be brought up, ideas for next year, put yourself forward for consideration as a member of next years committee or wish to vote for next years committee members by proxy then please drop us an email and we’ll get this added to the agenda / address as required.

We hope to see you all there.

Best regards,

OWG

Oldmeldrum Wargames Group presents: Quatre Bras 1815

Oldmeldrum Wargames Group demonstration game @ Targe 2015, Kirriemuir, 21st November 2015.

 

The “Bravest of the Brave”

Ney

 

Ney enlisted as a hussar in 1787 and was commissioned in 1792. Rising to General de Division in 1799, he was made Marshal in 1804, serving with great distinction. During the retreat from Russia, he saved the rearguard from extinction, earning the nickname as “bravest of the brave.” Battle fatigue took its toll. In 1813, he was wounded and mentally worn out and was sent home to recover.

In 1814, Ney urged Napoleon to abdicate and switched allegiance to King Louis. After the Hundred Days, he was shot by a firing squad on the 7th December after being found guilty of treason.

Ney has been criticised for his conduct at the Battle of Quatre Bras. What would you have done? Are you a better general than Ney?

 

Why did Napoleon choose Ney for such an important command?

Ney was useful for propaganda but Napoleon knew his capabilities. He said that his grasp of strategy was like the “latest-joined drummer boy.”

 

Considering his ambiguous orders, what were Ney’s options?

The orders and their time of arrival from HQ are summaries of real ones. Comments from Reille (II Corps) and La Croix (his CoS) are conjectural.

 

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Rules 

The rules we used today are ‘Blucher’, a fast-play set by Sam Mustafa, who has written other rules for the Horse and Musket period, such as Maurice, La Grande Armée and Lasalle. They are designed to be played with cards on a map or mat surface but a. group of figures can be used to represent the brigade-sized units, although all the information needed is still on the cards.

‘Blucher’ firmly places the player in the role of high command. For example, marches by an army group (reserve moves) cover many miles in one turn and may change the strategic picture faced by the commander completely. As the rules place the emphasis on the strategic decisions, they are highly recommended for the large-scale battles and campaigns that typified the Napoleonic period.

 

Scenario

The scenario and the strategic options for play were independently researched by club members (it is not the scenario given in the HONOUR website for the Hundred Days.)

 

Credits

The terrain was constructed and the figures used in the battle were painted by Mike.

 

Bier Wars – Defeat for Hoegaarden.

Prussian Tactics prove too much for the Archbishop’s forces!

Words & Pictures by Stuart

The army of Hoegaarden was defeated by the forces of Feldschlosschen in a pitched battle at the village of Chimay in Staropramen, just to the north of Hopgarten. General Julius van Leffe, commanding the Hoegaarden army had camped around the village and drew his forces up on the open ground to the east. The village itself was garrisoned by a regiment of infantry and the cavalry and grenadiers deployed in the fields to the west.

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Feldschlossen came off the line of march and split into two main columns. Their weight was concentrated against Hoeggarden’s left, on the western side of the village, with 3 infantry and 2 cavalry regiments. Another unit advanced down the road leaving but a single regiment and their artillery on the east side, Hoegaarden’s right.

The battle opened quickly with artillery fire causing early casualties on the infantry. Van Leffe, seeing the threat to the west, ordered the Yellow regiment to countermarch across the rear of the army to support that side. The Rose and Blue regiments advanced and, with support from the artillery began to close on Feldschlosschen’s sole regiment on that part of the field.

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To the west however it was clear that there would be trouble. The Grenadiers closed up against the town and as the enemy approached were able to cause some damage. The Horse grenadiers charged, hitting and driving off Feldschlosschen’s dragoons but were counter attached in turn by the enemy cuirassiers. A swirling melee developed and the Hoegaarden dragoons were drawn in, but the cavalry of Feldschlossen prevailed and the remains of Hoegaarden’s cavalry were sent reeling back.

The grenadiers, hoping for support from the Yellow regiment, were taking heavy casualties as volley after volley crashed into them. The defenders of Chimay began to fire into the flank of the Feldsclosschen regiment which had advanced down the road, but was now lining the hedgerow to fire at the enemy moving up on the eastern side of the battlefield.

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Here at least Hoegaarden were successful as the Feldschlosschen infantry withered away under cannon fire. A vain attempt to save them by having them march to the rear only served to expose their backs and with all cohesion gone, the regiment melted and ceased to exist. However the same effect was being produced on the Rose regiment, forcing it to halt and allow the Blues to advance, drums beating. There was a chance now that this side of the field could be swept clear and a turn executed to bring the regiments on to the flank of Feldschlosschen’s positon. Van Leffe urged his men on, ordered the guns to limber up to move to a new position and sent his staff officers to find out what the Yellow regiment were doing. At that point a volley of cannon balls hit the Blue regiment and it halted in its tracks, a second volley followed and the sight of red coats through the hedge to their flank caused the unit to waver and men began to leave the ranks. The chance had gone, the attack had failed!

Van Leffe’s staff officers returned to inform him the Yellow regiment had been delayed by the terrain in cutting across the road and was now deploying on the western side of the field, but their Colonel reported the cavalry defeated and the Grenadiers reduced to a few battered men. Taking stock of the situation, Van Leffe swore and threw his hat to the ground. It was time to retreat and save the remainder of the army.

Bier Wars – Standings after Turn 2

Folks,

The summer weather (?!) beckons the start of the campaign season again. Just a wee update to show the current situation:

Crabbei – Green – (4pts) –  In Depot at Veltin
Guinness – Orange – (2pts) – At Bass
Gelbehandtaschen – Yellow – (2pts) – At Lowenbrau
Campari – Pink – (4pts) – At Peroni and at Grimbergen
Hoegaarden – Blue – (6pts) – In Depot at Holstien and at Bock
Feldschlosschen – Red – (2pts) – At Vettel

THE ACTION AT STUDYANKA, 28th November, 1812

words by Alastair, photos by Mike.

OWG’s Sunday Game on 8.2.15 was Studyanka, the rearguard action on the east bank of the Berezina. The object for the Russians was to seize the bridges before sunset. We used General de Brigade rules that had been used in a previous refight of the scenario. That refight chalked up a victory for the French but at high cost and like the historical battle, a cavalry action put an end to Russian hopes. This time the forces were at full strength. From Count Wittgenstein’s 1st Corps, 15,000 Russians were pitted against 7,400 troops from Victor’s IX Corps, almost entirely Germans and Poles. Wittgenstein chose to remain at Borisov with his other troops and the force was placed under the command of Major General Vlastov of the Advance Guard. It soon became clear that the Russians were going to find it difficult to make their superiority in numbers tell.

The French deployed on the ridge east of the village with their cavalry sheltered rear/left. Off-table on the west bank, twelve 12 pounders from Napoleon’s Reserve were poised to enfilade any Russian units that  hugged the river bank too closely. On the Russian side, MG Vlastov prepared to engage on the left, while GM  Berg crossed the stream. In the Russian centre, deployed on the slope overlooking the ford, is the 12 pdr  battery that began firing at long range. Vlastov decided to move it closer to effective range but that was an  error; the limbered guns proved to be a hindrance and would have been better left alone.

The French deployed on the ridge east of the village with their cavalry sheltered rear/left. Off-table on the west bank, twelve 12 pounders from Napoleon’s Reserve were poised to enfilade any Russian units that hugged the river bank too closely. On the Russian side, MG Vlastov prepared to engage on the left, while GM Berg crossed the stream. In the Russian centre, deployed on the slope overlooking the ford, is the 12 pdr battery that began firing at long range. Vlastov decided to move it closer to effective range but that was an error; the limbered guns proved to be a hindrance and would have been better left alone.

Kulniev’s Brigade attacks. In the foreground, the St Petersburg Militia march behind the Navajinski  Infanty regiment. The brigade artillery pounds at  the French right. When the order changes from  ENGAGE to ASSAULT, two battalions of Jagers  attack in massed columns on the extreme right of  the French line. The attack looks promising but it  falls into disorder, because the columns are too  close to each other. They cannot get to grips with  the enemy. The assault grinds to a halt.

Kulniev’s Brigade attacks. In the foreground, the St Petersburg Militia march behind the Navajinski Infanty regiment. The brigade artillery pounds at the French right. When the order changes from ENGAGE to ASSAULT, two battalions of Jagers attack in massed columns on the extreme right of the French line. The attack looks promising but it falls into disorder, because the columns are too close to each other. They cannot get to grips with the enemy. The assault grinds to a halt.

Above is the situation near the end of play. On the Russian left, Kulniev fails to change his orders to reform his brigade and renew a bombardment. The 12-pdr battery is at last preparing to unlimber but its position is  far from ideal. On the right, a Russian threat is prepared with artillery. In the rear reserves whose position is  noted have not been committed to a sector of the battlefield yet. They are a mixed bag of twenty units that  include Grenadiers and Guard Cavalry drawn from the depots as well as militia and Cossacks.

Above is the situation near the end of play. On the Russian left, Kulniev fails to change his orders to reform his brigade and renew a bombardment. The 12-pdr battery is at last preparing to unlimber but its position is far from ideal. On the right, a Russian threat is prepared with artillery. In the rear reserves whose position is noted have not been committed to a sector of the battlefield yet. They are a mixed bag of twenty units that include Grenadiers and Guard Cavalry drawn from the depots as well as militia and Cossacks.

After about sixteen turns, representing four hours from 0900 to 1300, real time ran out. Victor showed no sign of giving ground. The layout, with play along the length of the table, limited the scope of the attacks and negated the one area of weakness on the French left wing. Rather than a “gung ho” approach, a prolonged bombardment might have been more effective in this situation. The Russians with 60 pieces at his disposal, had more than twice the French player’s guns (including the twelve 12-pdr cannon on the west bank.)

The absence of Wittgenstein and the rules for changing orders exposed the inefficiency of the Russian command. Also brigade orders require 50% of units to follow the conditions and some Russian brigades were difficult to handle with this restriction. For example, the reinforced Advance Guard brigade resembled a miniature army, comprising two battalions each of line infantry and Jager, two regiments of Dragoons, two batteries of artillery and a unit each of Cossacks and militia; finding a suitable order might be difficult. Russian brigades may seem large compared with other nationalities. Berg’s brigade comprised 8 units of Line Infantry, 3 of Jager and militia and two of artillery.

Club Night – Tuesday 13th January, 2015

Folks,

Plans for this evening are as follows:

Mike will be playing the boardgame “Thunder Alley” by GMT Games. This is a multi-player card driven Indy Car racing game where each player controls a team of 4 cars. Plenty of space for other to join in the fun!

Tonight will also see the opening engagement of the “Hops Wars” with John taking on Stuart. This is a fictional multi-player campaign being run by Stuart that sees each club member controlling a small fictional Central European state in the post-Malburian / pre-Napoleonic era based on their favourite beer (or aperitif – Andy?).

Hope to see you all there!

OWG