Saturday, November 24, 2012

The road to Gumbinnen 1914

Rennankampf's 1st Army had crossed the Prussian border five days ago. The town of Gumbinnen lay a day's march away, and III Corps troops were convinced that Prussia was theirs for the taking. III Corps' divisions were settling in for another day's advance when German troops were detected to their front.

The Russian 3rd Division, a reserve division, edged forward capturing a small village to its front before occupying a wood beyond the village.

It's attached regiment of 76mm Putilovs deployed ready to offer support.

The centre of the advancing German forces was quickly targeted by divisional artillery attached to the left flank 4th Division, the gunners quickly pinning an entire battalion of German infantry.

The right flank Russian 3rd Division then pushed forward to apply pressure to the German left flank. This was to be the focus for the ensuing action.

The German divisional commander had anchored his left flank on a local village.

The Russian Corp commander ordered the advance to be resumed, and one Regiment of his left flank 4th Division began their advance against the German centre.

Action was heating up on the Russian right as the 1st Regiment of its 3rd Reserve Division pushed forward. Troops had occupied a small copse, but came under heavy German artillery fire.

A prolonged fire fight ensued, with the Russian regiment pushed to hold on (surviving it's first morale check).

The regimental commander was eventually granted supporting fire from the Corp 4.8" guns, and casualties quickly mounted in the German regiment.

The German Regiment fell back, leaving the village to the Russian advance, and the German right flank hanging in the air.

The German commander ordered his 3rd Regiment to shift to the left to retake the lost village. However for only the second time in the day the Russian Corps artillery came into action. The gap in the centre of the formation below was left after five company stands were eliminated by the Russian guns.

The Russian advance in the centre had stopped in the dead ground before its objective, the high ground in the upper right of the photo below.

The Russian 3rd Division commander had ordered his attached artillery regiment forward, and finally the guns had unlimbered and brought direct fire down on the German regiment trying to move to shore up the German left.

The German forces had been out-shot and out-manoeuvred, and the German commander ordered a withdrawal before the advancing Russian troops. Gumbinnen lay to their rear. Tomorrow was another day.

This game was fought using the Great War Spearhead II draft rules, with Jon and Stan commanding the Russians and Germans respectively. I 'ran' the game to make sure that play flowed, making the repeated references to the rules that were required because we hadn't played GWSH for a couple of years.

The game gave a great reflection of combat in those early days of the war. References to Zuber and his accounts of early battles in the west describe fire fights lasting several hours, and in this case the focus of the action on the Russian right was just that, in this case the Russian regiment managed to win the fire fight before pushing the German forces out of their defensive position. There were several 'lucky' die rolls at the heart of the action here.

In scenario generation system terms, this left the Russians occupying three objectives to the German one, with one Russian regiment having been forced to take a morale test, while two German regiments had also done so. This gave the Russian commander a 6-1 victory.

As I said, it has been a while since we had played a GWSH game, and the game has been a timely reminder of why I love these rules so much. Both players were as rusty as me, and had for example forgotten the need to keep reserves. This meant that Jon as Russian commander lacked the capacity to exploit his tactical victory on his right, while Stan's attempt to shore up his left required a risky shift across the front of the Russian centre. Had he had a reserve, this could have been moved relatively safely to prop up his left..

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Trajan in Germany ...

Friday night's attempt at a Volley and Bayonet game was stymied by illness and fatigue, so we managed an impromptu Armati game with Trajanic Romans against Ancient Britons. I hauled out masses of 25mm figures that have not had the 21st Century Robin painting treatment (i.e. they are as they were painted 25+ years ago). We managed two games in the evening, the Romans winning convincingly in both encounters. Just a few shots of the armies in the first of the two games. Despite the painting quality, quantity still has a quality of its own. It's been a while since I played Armati and I'd forgotten what a good game it gives.. "things to do" list: play more Armati soon.

These are Minifigs Romans that were bought back in the early 1980s.

The cavalry here are actually Huns used to proxy as AB cavalry. I converted these from.. wait for it ... Airfix napoleonic British Hussars.. WAAAAY back in the late 70s.... well, you did that sort of thing back then, didn't you.

EEE by gum  .. them were the days eh laaad!!

Die Valkyrie...

Still in catch-up mode, this Warhammer 40K Imperial Guard Valkyrie is a kit that's been sitting around for a year or two. I bought the un-assembled kit from a fellow 'gamer for whom it was surplus to requirements and I've spent the past few weeks pottering with it, in amidst the frenetic work routine that is the impending end of term/end of academic year 'silly season'.  This flyer represents another step towards the completion of the Imperial Guard army for 40K, although truth to tell the boys I take for 'gaming at College get far more use out of the 40K armies than I ever do.

Can't help feeling that this should always appear on the table top to strains of Wagner.

Yet again I'd forgotten how relaxing this aspect of the hobby can be; this would be the largest kit assembly project I've undertaken for at least a couple of decades.

What's next? The last remaining components of the 20mm Spearhead Russian army have arrived, so I'll be off to pick them up from Stan this week, and once assembled that's another project finished. Woohoo!!!

Messing around with pre game bombardments in Great War Spearhead

While the 1917/1918 WW1 western front painting project isn't finished yet (work and life tend to fill most waking hours at the moment), ...