Thursday, October 8, 2020

Action around Mallwischken

We don't get to play Great War Spearhead games very often. This week was an exception, with four of us coming together to fight the historical scenario 'Action around Mallwischken' from the 'All fine men' scenario book published by Shawn Taylor and Robert Dunlop.

The battlefield at the beginning, Germans attacking from the right, Russians defending from the centre road left

The German plan of attack, with the main effort on the German right, here we thought we saw the weakest area of defence. Not the regiment kept in reserve off table in the centre, so that it could be committed in support of either flank. See also the length of the attack arrows.. more comment on that at the end of the report

The German right flank regiments sweep across the open ground hoping to take advantage of the relatively open Russian left

Russian defenders entrenched in the centre on the high ground

Russian defenders occupying the village of Uszballen

The Russian centre

The advancing German infantry took fire as they advanced, required to move at full speed because they had no spotted enemy

Similarly on the German left. This fire was to prove decisive, causing heavy casualties

The intensity of the fire fight that developed in the German right can be seen here, with fire identified with markers

The regiment on the German left, only intended as a blocking force, had advanced too far, taken serious casualties and attempted to withdraw back into the woods.

Troops in Uszballen taking fire

Russian defenders in the centre took a fierce volume of fire, with one company eliminated and another suppressed, but this was not enough

Uszballen still holding, despite the volume of fire

The German right is also taking serious casualties. Their supporting artillery is now in action .. surely this will help

Uszballen is now taking heavy small arms and direct artillery fire but .. nope.. still holding, and no casualties

And the defenders in the centre are also now taking artillery fire but they still hold

The German left survives a morale test and pulls back to avoid further casualties

A regiment of the German supporting artillery on the right is now also taking casualties from direct fire

Fire continues to pour down on the defenders in the centre.. nope..

The 3rd German regiment is nearing critical casualties

The Russian defenders are now sufficiently confident that they advance from their entrenchments to counter attack the Germans

And they advance to counterattack the blocking regiment on the German left

However at this stage, the 3rd German regiment is forced to take two consecutive morale checks (it's casualties took it past the 50% and 66% marks all in the one turn), passes the first but fails the second. 

While the German reserve had been committed to shore up the left/centre, the attack had clearly run out of puff. Withdrawal is the only option.

So, clearly Keith and I (commanding the Germans) had forgotten how to 'attack' in GWSH. I have to take the responsibility for that, having drawn our attack arrows too long, too far. This drove the attacking regiments onto the Russian defences, and the casualties were basically catastrophic. I know that I was cursed with poor die trolling with the attack on the right, but that is hardly a 'get out of jail' excuse. The attack was poorly planned.

But what a great game. We had forgotten that the simpler range of weapons systems inWW1 games means that games play faster than their WW2 and Modern equivalents. The game was played with my 6mm forces, all modelled using figures and guns from the Irregular Miniatures range.

Sparatacus (slave revolt) vs Barbarian.. Hordes of the Things in action on the table top again

 Aha... another evening with a couple of HotT games with Andy. He brought over his Sparatacus (slave revolt) and Undead armies. Here's the battle between his Sparatacus army and my Barbarian army.

The Barbarian army was:

1 x Hero general
1 x knight
2 x behemoth (mammoths)
1 x knight
5 x warband

Andy's Sparatacus army:
1 x Hero general
6 x horde
4 x blade
1 x beasts
2 x riders

Sparatacus himself

Beasts.. urrgghhhh
Barbarian hero general flanked by a behemoth

The initial Barbarian charge is repelled

One of the mammoth behemoth is recoiled

The warband on the barbarian right are not making any headway at all

Finally a gap.. the beasts fall to the warband

The Slave revolt riders come around the flank

The Barbarian general eliminates a blde

It's getting messy

The barbarians try to carve through the slave bldes

Meanwhile a now isolated warband tries to hold up the flank

A blade is destroyed by the behemoth

An dthe general moves to the rear to threaten another bldae, but the blade repels the behemoth/knight attack

The barbarian general fights for his life, attacked front and flank, he repels the attack

The slave hordes are successfully tying up the barbarian left

Another slave blade element is destroyed

The left flank behemoth starts a pushing match with a horde, slowly pushing it back,. We suspected the horde was luring the mammoth towards the lava pit.. BBQ anyone?

Ouch .. that was the barbarian general finally succumbing

Two barbarian warband are destroyed, and with the loss of the general that's it.. all over

A great game, all credit to Andy as he stuck to the task, despite some appalling PIP die rolling a times.  We followed this with a game in which Andy's Undead took down my Orc army..  two great games .. and yes there were sausage rolls!!

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Holding the line at Letterhausen

 Scchhhht "Niner this is One Zero Alpha, sitrep over" Scchhhht 

Not even a radio squelch circuit could disguise a whispered nervousness

Scchhhht "Niner, send over" Scchhhht
Scchhhht "Niner this is One Zero Alpha, figures three I say again figures three Bravo Mike Papa advancing across open ground to the west of our position, over" Scchhhht
Scchhhht "Niner sunray, roger. Stay calm son. Shelldrake acknoweldge over" Scchhhht

Bloody hell, the old man himself. No-one quite knew how he managed to convey calm and confidence with three words over a distorted radio circuit.  

Scchhhht "Shelldrake, acknowledged, out" Scchhhht
Scchhhht "Niner sunray out" Scchhhht

Keith and I have fought quite a number of rollicking good adventures across the plains of northern Germany, all set in 1982 (ish), using the Modern Spearhead rules. You can see accounts of some of those games here. However it had been a while since the last outing, so despite being a little rusty with the rules, it was all on again. As always our armies are modelled using the Heroics and Ros range.

Normally I used an armoured regiment from one of the BAOR armoured brigades. This time however I decided to try something very different, and field elements of an infantry brigade. So it was that two battalions from 15th TA Brigade, with one armoured regiment from 1st Armoured division, were fielded in a hasty defence against Keith's Soviets. I used less artillery than usual, one battalion of M107s from Corps for CB, and the divisional  battalion of towed FH70 155mm guns. I took a salvo of ICM (Improved Conventional Munitions) for the artillery, and a minefield. I planned to try to channel the attackers and then catch them in a killing zone formed with ATGW and the Chieftains from the armoured regiment. I also took some entrenchments in the hope that the infantry platoons might be able to survive a little longer on the battlefield, although in an ideal world they would not bear the brunt of the battle. Finally I took as an Option A a flight of Lynx attack helicopters. My first error (of many) was the minefield. I had agonised over whether to take a minefield (and the required engineers) or a round of artillery delivered mines. I should have taken the latter, as in a hasty defence scenario it is deemed that the defenders have not had time to lay the mines, so those points are lost. So I lost the minefield

Keith attacked with 5 battalions from a Motor Rifle Division, three with infantry mounted in BMPs in the centre of his attack, and each flank with infantry mounted in BTRs. Each had T64s as their armoured component.

The battlefield from the west (behind the British lines) looking east.

The BAOR left flank was secured with an infantry battalion with 3 Chieftain cross attached from the armoured regiment

The town sector on the left (an objective in the game) was well defended and supported. Sadly for my defence the Soviets didn't attack here

The main weight of the Soviet attack advances on the BAOR right. Fortunately my reserve was deployed off table on the right prepared for a counter attack against just such a threat

The Soviet advance is disrupted by the terrain

The Reserve is committed at the end of turn one for turn 2, seen here coming on at the bottom of the photo at the beginning of turn 2. It is the armoured regiment with 6 companies of infantry cross attached from the two TA battalions

The reserve advancing, a Chieftain troop, and a troop of FV438 Striker Swingfire, seen in the foreground

Central to the BAOR defence of the centre right is a Chieftain troop hull down on a high feature. This proved to be a huge problem for the Soviet advance as it was able to pick off advancing T64 platoons almost at will

A second Chieftain platoon advanced from hidden deployment to threaten the right of the Soviet attack

The hull down Chieftain troop, supporting TA infantry platoons seen at the centre left of the photo. There had also been a Milan platoon, but it was eliminated early by Soviet fire.

Soviet right flank advance

The Soviet centre took up positions on a ridge opposite the BAOR right flank. They came under fire from the BAOR FH70 155mm guns firing ICM... one platoon suppressed and one platoon eliminated

The main part of the BAOR right flank defence, with infantry in the wood, and another platoon dug in in shallow entrenchments. A Milan platoon had already been eliminated from this company

Part of the British reserve advances: a Chieftain troop, supported by a troop of FV438 ATWG.  These troops were able to create a wicked crossfire when combined with the main British defence line

A Chieftain troop had advanced against the flank of the main Soviet advance but was then in turn taken in the flank when Keith committed his reserve, see upper left in the photo

One of the British FAO units calling fire against the Soviet advance. An additional Chieftain troop is immediately to its rear

Battalion mortars dropped smoke to protect the dug in TA infantry form assault, and a flight of Lynx helicopters, armed with TOW are called in to support the flank, with immediate effect

The weight of the Soviet advance against the British right flank is clear here.. a mass of armour

Casualties inflicted on the advancing

.... and here ...

The Soviet attack from the ridge is seriously degraded with casualties

The defence of the left of the British centre is under pressure when the Chieftain troop is suppressed by flank fire

The Soviets drop smoke in an attempt to shield their advance from the rapidly escalating casualties being inflicted by the Chieftain troops and the Lynx flight

That Chieftain troop on the left attempts to pivot to meet the flank threat

But the entire troop is put out of action by intense fire from BTR mounted ATWG and T64 fire

Serious smoke cover, which however won't block the Lynx which is able to move since it no longer has targets under its mission and target priorities

At this stage we ran out of time, at a time when the game needed perhaps several more turns to 'develop'.

My BAOR left flank battalion had failed to respond to a requested order change that would have allowed it to move across onto the flank of the Soviet attack. While response was likely, the slowness of the units would have meant a significant delay in their impact on the Soviet attack, if any at all.

However my right flank 'reserve battalion' had effectively halted Soviet progress with its cross fire on the flank of the attack. The sustainability of that positon in itself was suspect as Keith was beginning to manoeuvre BTR platoons into a position where they could bring ATGW fire to bear on the Chieftain troops.

Soviet casualties had been heavy, but were spread across 3 battalions, so none of them was too close to morale check. Interestingly both of us had made less use of electronic warfare missions than usual. We had both used radio jamming which had reduced the effectiveness of artillery as it was more difficult to get a request through. We had both located enemy artillery. However my FH70s were out of range of Keith's allocated guns, and I had failed to locate Keith's battalions because they were SPGs and so that much more difficult to locate.

In one turn, Chieftain troops accounted for four T64 platoons, and the Lynx had accounted for another two in its two turns over the table when we had to call time. The FV438s had yet to have any impact on the battle, and as support stands added significantly to the crossfire that was developing.

So for a change the BAOR effectively halted the Soviet advance. Perhaps the most interesting thing about this game for me was my exploration of a wider variety if weapon capabilities .. Improved Conventional Munitions in particular. A lesson was learned about the addition of mines to a Defend list as well - next time it will be Artillery Delivered Mines.

As always, a great game....

Action around Mallwischken

We don't get to play Great War Spearhead games very often. This week was an exception, with four of us coming together to fight the hist...