Tally Ho!

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Chain of Command Eastern Front Campaign - Week 8

Following last week's successful defence the Russians had the opportunity to launch a counter-attack in an attempt to drive-back the Axis forces and restore their front-lines. We played this battle as the Attack vs Defence scenario in fairly dense farm-land. We also made a tweak to the lists and rated the Germans as Regular vs Veteran. The Finns remained as Veterans.  

The battlefield from the Russian right flank

And from the Russian left
Both sides selected infantry-heavy forces with the Russians also deploying a Scout Squad for the first time - there are Veteran troops who can move rapidly but still remain in cover due to their national characteristics bonus. They soon made their presence felt by capturing a German jump-off point in the very first turn that had been deployed too close to a Russian one. Ouch!

The Russians plan was a simple one - deploy a small holding force opposite the well defended church and load their right flank where they would make a typically Russian massed infantry attack. This began well as they badly mauled a German infantry section advancing through a wood and also a second section deployed to protect the churches flank.

Russians deploy in force on their right flank
In the centre the Russian scouts advanced cautiously against the Finns who were well dig-in around the church. This was a strong defensive position and the Russians made very little impression on the Finns.   

Russian scouts move through the corn

The confident Finns are well set 

On the Russian right the Germans were suffering badly, having lost 2 infantry sections routed and a third pinned-down by heavy fire. Under cover of  a maxim MMG and 2 infantry sections, the Russians were able to advance through the woods and threaten the left flank of the church. 
Russians sir, thousands of um

Feeling pretty secure in their trenches the Finns tried to launch a limited counter-attack by advancing against the Russian left flank through the corn-fields. The advance was cautious though and did not have the hoped-for effect of drawing-off some of the Russian reserves.  

Finns move to the flank 

Russian scouts keeping an eye on things
With the Germans close to routing their last section was deployed into the church with the Finns moving to cover the flank in their place. However this was not enough to prevent the Russians from capturing a second Jump-off Point, which was enough to end the game. 

Finns lining the trenches

Russians overrun a second Jump-off Point
So a rare win for the Russians and their first on the offensive. Rating the Germans as regular certainly made it a closer game even though this meant the Russians got less support options.  In this game the Patrol Phase was certainly key with the Axis loss of a Jump-off Point in the first turn really putting them on the back foot. 

Friday, 18 November 2016

Chain of Command Eastern Front Campagin - Week 7

This week saw the Axis forces on the attack again having pushed-aside the Russian delaying action last week. For this scenario we revert to Capture an objective, which in this case was a small farm deep within the Russian defensive position.

The terrain was very dense with lots of small hills simulating rolling steppes with lots of hollows to hide in. The Axis troops had a central hill but a limited field of fire.

The Axis positions

The Russian commanders are poised to act
The game began in fairly cagey fashion as befitted the dense terrain - the Axis occupied the obvious cover near  their deployment area and the Russians brought on some infantry and the KV-1 to cover the objective. At this point the Russians spotted that they had forgotten to deploy a Jump-Off point on the objective, meaning that they would always have to move units to defend it.

KV-1 and foot-sloggers move to cover the farm 

Germans occupy a flanking position

More Russians, this time sheltering in a holl0w

The Finns make an appearance capturing a wood near their base-line
The first decisive intervention was the Germans deploying their armour, which moved up the hill and into position  to engage the KV. This was closely followed by an attempted Finnish flanking move under cover of the armour.

German armour

Finns hiding behind a hill
After a few rounds of fire the Germans managed to disable the KV without losing either of their precious tanks. The Russians countered the Finnish thrust by deploying further infantry and Maxims to cover the attack. This was enough to persuade the Finns to relocate to the centre, perhaps in the hopes of following the tanks into the Russians position.

Finns shift the axis of advance

More Germans appear to provide covering fire

Is that Bob Cratchit scratching away in the background? 
Secure, having safely dispatched the KV, the Axis forces then began a general advance, conscious that they had a limited time to capture the farm house.

Germans making their move
Finns supporting the Stug
With the Germans on the advance the Russians unleased their newly found secret weapon - the dreaded ambushing flamethrower. This is something which seems to attract a lot of attention on the CoC forums as its seen as too powerful a weapon. Given the Russians recent bad run they needed a boost, and it certainly turned-out that way. First it torched and Panzer IV and then it toasted an infantry squad.

Burn baby burn

This was enough to cause a pause in the Axis advance while they regrouped. This delay was enough to deny them the  chance of victory and with the light fading fast the Russians had held the line long enough to claim a victory. So a rare Russian win that would allow them to launch a counter-attack next week.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

28mm Punic Wars - the journey is complete

After about 3 years of patient collecting and painting I've finally amassed enough troops to stage the Punic Wars in 28mm. Its always been a favourite period of mine, and lets be honest who does nt fancy themselves as a Hannibal. I've played 15mm using both WRG 6th Edition and DBM , but its taken a while to getting around to replacing them with 28mm.

The Romans

The Roman's are arrayed here in a characteristic battle formation with supporting lines. From the rear we have Triarii supported by Penal Legions, Hastati / Principes, Latin allies, and finally Velites at the front. Most of the figures are Victrix 28mm plastics.

The whole army
 Looking in close-up we can see the Velites leading the way with waves of heavy infantry in support.
The left flank
The right flank
To the rear as always are the doughty Triarii acting as the final reserve - rem ad Triarios redisse, or "it has come to the triarii" as they say.


The Carthaginians

The Carthaginian's are a real mixed-bag of mercenaries and allied African troops, so I've tried to reflect that in the army. They are set out here with Punic troops in the rear, Spanish / Celts in the first line and clouds of Libyan / Numidian skirmishers to the fore. The figures are a real mixture; Victrix, Warlord Games, Crusader Miniatures, Wargames Factory (nolonger available), and 1st Corps. The elephants are party scratch-built with Wargames factory Greeks as crew.  


The Carthaginian army 
The army is deployed with the elephants to the left and the cavalry to the right. As befits a Carthaginian army there is a significant contingent of Numidian cavalry.

Left flank - elephants stand ready

Right flank - the Punic cavalry supporting

Right flank - the Numidian's make ready 
Hannibal used large numbers of Spanish and Celtic troops to add bulk to his army, so I've done the same.

A big block of Celts itching to get into action
Finally the elite of the army are Hannibal's African veterans. Here I've depicted them in looted Roman equipment.

The veterans

The Game

Having tried several sets of rules without much luck we've heeded Lewisgunner's siren call and decided to give Armati II a whirl. The rules appear simple but have lots of subtle features so we're going to d a warm-up campaign first and refight part of the Dacian Wars. So watch this space for the eventual Punic campaign.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Chain of Command Eastern Front Campaign - week 6

Following last week's victory for the Axis forces the Russian's decided to mount a Delaying Action to buy time to consolidate their forces. If victorious they would have the option to mount a spoiling counter-attack, and if not they should have a stronger defensive line. In the Delaying Action scenario the attackers must capture a specific enemy Jump-Off Point as nominated by the defender.

This weeks table was a rural affair with a mixture of hedges and light woods, with a farm in the centre of the Russian position. On one flank stood a small chapel, almost compulsory now I've bought it! The game objective was in a small field to rear of the farm.
View from the Russian left

View from the Russian right 

View from the Axis right 

View from the Axis left
The Patrol Phase was fairly even. It left the Russians with a solid defensive line around the farm with woods and hills to the flanks. The Germans deployed on the Axis left moving towards the chapel through some woods and the Finns on the right attacking towards some hills.
The battle opened with the Russians deploying a solid-looking line of infantry and Maxims around the objective and quickly getting their KV-1 onto the field.
Russian defenders take-up position 
Soviets occupy the woods
This looked like a sensible move by the Russians but they counted without the wargaming gods who made a telling intervention. A series of double, triple, and even quadruple 6's lead to a whole succession of phases and turns for the Axis forces. The Finns used this to push forward rapidly and capture the woods immediately in front of the Russian position. The Germans deployed all four infantry sections and mowed-down the Russian infantry. Only the KV mounted any resistance.  

German LMG teams deploy in a central position

Finns advance to the woods - very much at home

More German LMG teams and a panzerschreck

Germans sneaking down the side of the chapel 

The tide briefly swung towards the Russians when they finally gained the initiative for a while. They were able to destroy both the Panzerscrekt team and the Finnish BT-42. With the Finns Pak-38 positioned in defensive position, this left no serious threat to the KV-1.

The cheer was short-lived through as a another run of double 6's allowed the Axis troops the inflict further heavy damage for no effective response. This period left the Axis troops poised on both flanks and the Russians rapidly running out of troops.   

Finns on the move

Russians huddle for cover near the objective
The battle ended with Comrade Bosski's platoon's Force Morale reduced to zero thus breaking the Russian's. A decisive Axis victory.
This battle was certainty dominated by two periods where the Russians went a series of 2-3 turns without taking any action. Memory is a fickle and biased thing but it did feel like more than a coincidence and perhaps other battles had contained similar phases of play. It could be that the presence of two elite platoons on the Axis side (each with 6 initiative dice) means such periods are fairly likely to occur in long battles.