Sunday, 23 December 2012

Great War - Square Bashing - Stormtroopers

Square Bashings (and GWSH) permit the use of Stormtroops for several nationalies.  SB allows for complete battalions which reflects the attached comanies in the overall performance.  GWSH on the other hand allows the direct modelling of the Companies as independant units.  Either way the latest addtions to the Western Front are two Battalions, with complimentary Half Bases and Casualty figures

The Half Bases are the Casualty step removal element for SB

The battalions as they will be fielded

SB also allows the 1918 German list to field two Flamenwerfer bases.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Great War - GWSH - Jaeger Bns

I have finally found time to finish off the two Pendraken Jaeger Battalions needed for my 1 Kavallerie Divisionen for the 1914 Eastern Front.

They now need a Cyclist Company added.  The Bn MGs were completed at the beginning of the project so just need to be mated up and they are ready to be used

Great War - German A7V

I fancied doing an A7V for my later war German Army.

This is the 10mm one from Pendraken comprising a RTV resin chassis with white metal weapons.  I drilled out the gun mounts and reversed the weapons and then snipped them down to length as I wasn't too sure what the blob on the end of the sprue was.  IMHO these have come out okay

Great War - 1914 Russians (update)

With the impetus to get some SB units finished, I have returned to the Eastern Front.  This is the area that my interest in WW1 started with rather than the Western Front.

My Russian forces are based on a "standard" Infantry Division.  They were based around a Pendraken Starter set with some small additions to get me up and running for the SB playtesting.

Since the play test games I have added more units to provide:
  • Two Brigades of 2 Regiments Each of 4 Battalions of Infantry.
  • Regimental MG Companies
  • Divisional Cavalry Regiment
  • Two field regiments of 76.2mm Guns
  • One Heavy Regiment of 122mm Guns
GWSH and others seem to suggest the Russians were poorly provided with Artillery compared to the Imperial German Army.  The Batteries were deemed to be inefficient by still retaing 8 gun strucutres rather than 6 pieces.  Stone (The Eastern Front 1914 - 1917) makes a statement on Page 38 that "...their regular Divisions (German) had eighteen such weapons (field-mortars) to fifty-four field cannon, whereas the Russian army, in 1914, had only six per division (and forty-eight field-cannon).  This give me a benchmark for the Germans of:

3 Batteries of 6 Howitzers
9 Batteries of 6 Field Guns

Which translates the Russians to:
1 Battery of 6 Howitzers increasing to two batteries following the reforms
6 Batteries of 8 Field Guns

Great War - SB - Trench Assault Play Test

Latest playtest was a 1916 Western Front game between my British (Attacking) Vs Germans.

Pretty standard forces. I opted for 11 Battalions of Infantry supported by a MkIV tank upagainst a German force with full artillery and MG allocation. Not a blood bath BUT I didn't win. Game was over at the end of turn 4 with some nifty end of game rolls from the Defender. Things not helped out by my poor dice rolling. Out of 30 D6 rolled I managed one 6 which left my attack unsupported. Pretty close in terms of game play with the British finally breaking into the Trench line and taking a forward redoubt but not enough to score a victory and in fact the VPs game an overwhelming victory to the Germans.

Close up view from the Germans looking towards the British start line at the end of the British 3rd Turn, Casualties have started to mount (Top Right corner), however the Germans are very weak. A Damaged gun and a damaged MG are all that oppose two attacking battalions in the objective square (the one with the flag).

Overview at the end of Turn 3. The first attack on the British left flank (Attacking R to L) has been repulsed while the MKIV (unpainted sorry) and infantry have succeeded in taking the forward bunker.

German Turn 3 however was a different picture as a point barrage hits the newly captured position before the two weakened battalions (2 Bases and 3 bases) can be assaulted. End result is the withdrawal of the British to their start lines.

As this was a playtest we spent a few moments checking the mechanism for main and supporting attacks from two flank attacks being a pincer movement.

8 to 9 on the left hand attack and 8 to 8 on the right hand attack. Not great odds however the German defenders are a single base and I am hoping to win by virtue of destroying the enemy.

All told an enjoyable game again. I need to review my terrain but Western Front isn't my main focus in the Great War so will have to see what happens.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Great War - Square Bashing - 1916 Western Front

Quick AAR unfortunately no pictures.  I had arranged to stay over at my best mate's house the other night unfortunately in my rush to leave i managed to leave my SB books at home.  Luckily we had access to an earlier SB playtest copy and playsheet so we could at least get a 90% solution in.

Pete chose Western Front Germans and I took British with both of us picking a 1916 options.

After taking the minimums I was faced with choosing an extra 107 points which ended up being an extra Regular Battalion, 2 MG Companies and 2 18 Pounders, Pete had a force with two Cavalry Regiments which I rubbed my hand in glee at, 4 77mm Batteries and the rest being split between MG and Regular Infantry.  I was sorely hoping to be the attacker.

Unfortunately that didn't happen.  Pete had elected for an offensive posture and soundly beat me in the pre-game set up.
My Artillery was low and ammo and could only fire 4 Square width barrages.  My Suppression Barrage was reduced to 4 Points.  He had an option to use his artillery against my armour (which luckily I hadn't taken for a change) and worse he ended up with a Stormtrooper unit to spearhead his attack and reducing my Point Barrage.  In addition he could move some of his MGs (remember this is a playtest list so isn't the same as the final print version)

I ended up being 21 points behind and was facing a 7D6 depletion roll once the units were all set up.

Terrain was duly set up and I had placed three objectives in Row 3 (9 Points) and one in Row 4 (4 Points) so that was fine.  I was hoping do keep him confined in the terrain and hope for some good end turn rolls.  That wasn't such a good idea facing Cavalry and his terrain roll moved my rough terrain that I was relying on to hold up his attack in front on the objectives.

The depletion rolls were horrid as well and I ended up with the three objectives in Row 3 being held with Profession Infantry and MGs and one Regular Battalion.  In terms of support I had 3 Field batteries the rest of the force were reinforcements.

Pete's first turn saw a suppression barrage on my defensive line which meant I couldn't fire out or over which left his force unscathed and on top of my positions.  In my turn despite an asset general I ended up with no support and unlikely to sortie out from the objectives into the open  I managed to get one reinforcement unit on (Reservist Infantry Grrrr).  An End Game roll of 1 set the tone that this really was going to be a bad day for the British.

I can't remember Pete's next asset roll but I managed to repulse two assualts he launched with no casualties.  The thrird assault however pushed me off of the centre objective. In my turn 2 I managed to land a small suppression barrage which effectively pinned his centre and right flank infantry.  A counter attack managed to recapture the lost objective and an end game roll of 6 meant that I was facing at least 3 more turns.

Next turn saw more assaults coming in which I shrugged off and thought that I might have a chance. The dice gods were not on my side and a point barrage intended to hit the attackers in the open dropped short on the Left hand objective causing casualties on the Professional Infantry which i could weather but both MGs took a loss meaning I had just lost 4D6 of Defensive firepower. 

With a barrage on my own position Pete rubbed his hands in glee for his own assets and promptly failed to add anything.  That said the damage was already done and his free roaming cavalry on the flank and rear coupled with losing 7D6 of defensive power (Damaged MGs and the 3 Barrage markers) meant that the assault was going one way in the favour of the Germans. I conceded at this point.

Lessons Identified -
  • Terrain can only do so much and it is better to sit in it than in the open! 
  • Asset Generals are fine but once you have rolled all your dice then they are gone.  Possibly better if defending to use a morale General.  Only really helpful if you have been shot up as has no effect in an assault. 
  • You can never have enough barrage markers (only applies to me as I supply both forces and therefore need all the markers for boths sides)

Thoroughly good evening and the nice postman has delivered Pendraken order 6544 which contains some more late war Western Front additions to the British and Germans (I am daunted by the A7V though!)

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Great War - Eastern Front Cavalry

As the Eastern Front Cavalry operations were the spark that set this particular fire off running I thought it was about time they had some more attention.

First up are a couple of new German bases.  The one on the left is a standard Uhlan base which will just be added to the pile of cavalry being painted up to give me the 1st Cavalry Division for some early 1914 games.  In the middle is my Cavalry Brigade command stand for GWSH and on the right is a WIP for the dismounted cavalry that both SB and GWSH can use.  These will go on to fill up 1st Kavallerie Divisionen which is now in the painting queue.

From a slightly different angle
 And the other side

The Russian Brigade HQ being worked up

Friday, 7 December 2012

Great War - 1916+ British Current Progress

Problem with so many projects is that you keep finding things you hadn't gotten around to.  In this case my 1916+ British Artillery, HQs and Tanks had sat unloved for a while.

Now completed this lot with another load on order from those very nice people at Pendraken

HQ Set with Motorcylist and Carrier Pidgeons and Telephones

MkIV Male

The Divisional Artillery 

 Supports waiting for the next batch of metal (MGs and another Regiment of 18 Pdrs)

3 Brigades of British Empire Infantry

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Square Bashing - First Steps

For those new to SB who find the rule book daunting, fear not.  Fear my poor use of the english language and grammar instead as I try to get you over the top as painlessly as possible.  We are going to use the concept of a quick game which is included in the book to enable new players to get started quickly.

But before you start looking for that, first do a little reading of the following rule sections .  Most RFCM games have the idea of pre-battle activity.  This ensures that when you actually start the first turn you have absorbed some of the flavour of your period.  So setting the game up correctly is pretty important.

Start off by skimming through the following rule sections:
12 on Page 22
13 on Page 25
14 on Page 26
15 on Page 27
16 on Page 27
17 on Page 28
18 on Page 30

I did say flick as the idea is that now you have a rough idea of where things are and how they go together the next piece of narrative makes sense.

Now go to Page 15 where the game set up is described and references all the relevant sections in case you get lost. Ignore notes 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6.

Normally you would follow the steps in Order 1 - 18 but to get you started quickly we are only going to use:

Step 1 (and even that we are going to shorten that)
Step 2
Skip past 3 - 6
Steps  7 - 18

Step 1.
Most Players haven't got a clue about force composition or what works and what doesn't; so don't bother.  Use the sample forces below until you are happy with the mechanics and only then start working out your own forces from the Army Lists:

Side A - The attacker
2 Reservist Units
6 Regular Units
3 Professional Units
6 Standard Guns
4 Machine Guns

Side B - The Defender
6 Machine Guns
3 Reservist Units
5 Regular Units
4 Standard Guns

Step 2.
Both players select some scenery items as described in Section 12

Step 7 - 12
To get started you are only going to have 8 terrain pieces and you only need to be able to count to 13 for your objectives.  Place the terrain as directed and if you get stuck read Section 13, 15 & 16 again

Roads First

Then Objectives
Then the rest of the terrain 
Then terrain moves

Step 13 - 14
Set up both armies as per Section 17

Step 15
As this is the quick game you have skipped a large chunk of fluff which sets a normal game.  The quick game assumes that has already happened and that the defender has been on the receiving end of the attackers preparatory barrages.  As the quick game states this is "attack in force" if you look on the table on Page 32 you can see where the 6D6 comes from don't forget to use the modifiers on this table.  As this is the quick game make sure you read the notes on Page 9 before rolling for depletions.

Step 16
For new players I would recommend the attacker being a Fighting General and the Defender being a Morale rating for your first couple of games.  Give each general a 3 Command rating.

Step 17 and 18
You are now ready to start the game with the attacker going first.

Now read Sections 23 - 28 and 30 (Skip 29 for the quick game)