Saturday, January 15, 2022

A couple of very different 6mm 'games

I managed to fit in two games over two nights in my attempt to get a few games before the tyranny of work's time demands kicks in. The first was a four player ACW game played using the Volley and Bayonet rules, and Keith's figure collections. Here a re a few sample photos, no commentary (just lovely armies to look at and to use on the able).

Then Andy and I got together to try to re-acquaint ourselves with the Mantic game Warpath, again using 6mm figures (well, they re all GW Epic figures, and probably more realistically 7mm).

An interesting contrast to the ACW game the night before.

Friday, January 14, 2022

Action on the Peninsular... a 25mm Volley and Bayonet Napoleonic game

Another 'holiday game', in which the 25mm Napoleonic armies (Spanish and French) fought an encounter on the Peninsular. The armies were 3000 points strong, and the battle fought using our Volley and Bayonet rules. In setting up the table, I tried to create more open space (I tend to 'overpopulate' the table with terrain. I thought it would be interesting however to put down a river, with a couple of pieces of 'marshy bank' clearly marked. The river however completely shaped the battle, allowing the French commander (Jon) to adopt an unassailable position formed as he 'refused' his right flank after the initial deployment. Certainly it was beyond the power of the linear Spanish infantry to assault the French, which passed the initiative to the French. 

Jon assaulted on his left, where he redeployed two brigades of French Guard (M6 Shock troops) in response to a Spanish attack. The Spanish division deployed on their right withstood the first assaults, but then fell apart to the French attacks. One telling factor was the relative movement speeds of the linear infantry versus the massed infantry. This allowed Jon to act more quickly than we could manage.

The battlefield, French on the left, Spanish on the right

Spanish infantry take a town on the Spanish right, hoping to make this a bastion to hold up the flank, while another divisions attempted to hook around the French left

The flanking Spanish can be seen on the right of the photo, but Jon was able to redeploy troops quickly to counter the threat, and prepare for his own attacks. The stone walls became 'hasty works', offering the Spanish some protection

The view from behind the Spanish in their 'hasty works

The Spanish left has wrapped around the French right, but the French have used the river to refuse the flank

The Spanish on the left of the photo threatening the French. However an assault across the river was tricky, as the mass of the French cavalry reserve was sitting behind the infantry ready to counter attack an attempt to cross the river.

The Spanish attempting tp hold on their right after the first French Guard assault had been repulsed

The Spanish right after an entire division has been carried away

The Spanish left . moribund!!

The terrain entirely shaped the game, so there was less fighting than we would have liked. However ot was still good to get the troops out on the table.

The figures are however now so old that 'metal rot' is setting in, and horses in particular are now beginning to break off at the 'ankles' (if horses had ankles, but I think you know what  mean). This is a diminishing force, as I won't be investing in replacements. It is simply too expensive.

American Civil War 15mm armies get an outing

 Catching up on a few game splayed recently, this a small Volley and Bayonet game (2000 points) played using my 15mm ACW armies. These figures hadn't seen the light of day for a very long time, and with a game organised with Keith, he suggested we drag them out. The small size of the game didn't diminish the challenges of the game (as we have already found with the smaller FPW games we have played using our 6mm armies). Not a full AAR here, but just a sampling of -hoots to give you the feel. The union forces' attempts to push forward and attack the Confederate troops were stymied, as were attempts at using the Union artillery superiority. Keith used the terrain to his advantage, I didn't .. simple really. It was a very cool small game.

Union cavalry, which quickly dismounted (as dd the Confederate cavalry)

The town sectors were scratch built quite a few years ago

Thursday, December 23, 2021

'It ain't what ya got, it's the way that you use it'

Arriving recently in the 'mailbox' were copies of three books by Pritt Buttar eastern front in WW2: 'Between Giants' (the Baltic states in WW2), 'Retribution' (the Soviet reconquest of the Ukraine in 1943), and 'Battleground Prussia' (the Soviet conquest of Prussia in 1944/1945). I finished reading 'Between Giants'' the other day, and am now into 'Retribution'.

Putting aside the usual criticism of Buttar's books (the lack of quality maps - I've read his four books on the eastern front in WW1 and they suffer from the same shortcoming), I enjoy his writing. It is accessible, and if you have any sort of spacial memory at all (not me!!), the action can still be followed despite the lack of maps.

Completion of the first book, and my reading only a short way into the second, has left me with several thoughts. 

The first is this: Buttar describes quite a lot of the action down at the battlegroup level, where from a German perspective (for example) the forces might involve a panzer battalion, a PzGr battalion, or an infantry regiment, and supporting artillery and AT assets. These actions match the level at which Keith McNelly's Scenario Generation System pitches the command levels and action. We fight these actions using Art Conliffe's Spearhead rules set, and the size of the actions, and also the sorts of scenarios it generates, really are a good fit. The sorts of outcomes that Spearhead, and the SGS, seem to produce, also seem to match much of Buttar's descriptions. You can find Keith's system here.

The second thought is this: I am fascinated by the number of times that Panzer Division recon battalions are used as 'firefighters', being thrown in to block Soviet breakthroughs, and the effectiveness that they appear to have had. Often these battalions are backed up with additional divisional AT and artillery assets, and often it seems that the impact of the artillery in itself is very significant. I guess one reason for the use of the recon assets is their mobility, which makes sense. Looking at the SH OOBs as they evolved you also see the gradual enhancement of combat capability with more powerful weapons in the Pamzer Division recon battalions. However I suspect it is the mobility that is the issue. 

Here is an AAR of an eastern front game in which Keith showed the usefulness of that mobility, even when these units lack significant 'hitting power'.

And here is an AAR of a France 1940 game in which Keith successfully used his German recon assets to 'shape' the battle and negate the advantages of the better quality French equipment.

Neither of these games saw the recon used in the defensive role that Buttar describes, but they do show the truth in the old saying 'it ain't what ya got, it's the way that you use it'.

Friday, December 10, 2021

On the Iberian Peninsular

This week, an adventure on the Iberian Peninsular, a small fictional scenario using 2000 point armies, the game played using the Volley and Bayonet rules. We played using Jon's 6mm armies, French vs Spanish.

Not a full AAR, but.a selection of pictures. The game began with aggressive attacks from the Spanish on each flank, and concluded with the French ripping apart the Spanish right flank and centre. It was one of those games where the end came about very suddenly. A great game!!


A couple of very different 6mm 'games

I managed to fit in two games over two nights in my attempt to get a few games before the tyranny of work's time demands kicks in. The f...