Monday 30 May 2011

The Battle for Stone Hill

As planned, I did manage to get a solo game in over the weekend, Saturday night in fact, as SWMBO was out at a Hen Doo. I had been able to set the table up in the afternoon, so once Dr Who was out of the way, along with the small issue of dealing with our Sons Daleks, it was time to assemble the forces and commence battle.

The OOB were as follows:

British Union of Fascists
CO (CV9) 'Colonel' Saunders, resident of Hanham Hall
 2 x L3/35 Tankettes
Kingswood Fascist Chapter (KFC)
HQ (CV7) Samuel White, local businessman
9 x Militia
1 x MG
1 x 3" Mortar
1 x Armoured Car
Morris Miners (MM)
HQ (CV7) Bill Morris, militant leader of the Pit Road Colliery
9 x Militia
1 x MG
1 x Armoured Car

Glosters Rapid Reaction Territorial Taskforce Lusch (G.R.R.T.T Lusch)
CO (CV8) Major Leigh Lusch
6 x Green Infantry
1 x MG
1 x 3" Mortar
1 x 18pdr Artillery Support Unit

HQ (CV8) Captain Darling
3 x Green Infantry
1 x AT rifle upgrade

Scenario 2: Assault (as per the rulebook)
The BUF forces have been causing widespread disruption in and around the Hanham area, including cattle rustling, gun running and alcohol smuggling*. As a result of this, the local Gloster Yeomanry have sent a small task force to take control of Stonehill, a dominant feature in the area, with a view to prevent the BUF from carrying out their nefarious activities.

Stonehill provides a good vantage point of the local area as well as dominating the major routes used by the BUF in their activities. Having found that  GRRTT Lusch has taken up position on the hill, 'Colonel' Saunders has rounded up his forces to remove them from the hill and so 'open up' his trade routes.

Objective: BUFs to take control of the hill before nightfall.

* In the 1930s, the area in and around Hanham that the battle takes place was fairly lawless. The Cock Road gang of Kingswood, a stones throw from Stonehill, did regularly rustle cattle and their home turf was a bit of a no-go area for the police. Houses in and around Hencliffe Woods (again a stones throw from the battlefield) by the River Avon did smuggle spirits and tobacco, as evidenced by smugglers passages in some of the old houses.

Table Set Up.

The Glosters Taskforce sets up on Stonehill, to the top left of the picture. This controls the main road through Hanham , the old Roman road to Bath, the Via Juliana which can be seen at the top of the picture. The roads leading North from this go towards Cock Road.

The BUF forces come in on the left side of the table, parallel to Whittucks Road, which leads down to Pit Road as seen towards the bottom of the table. Roads leading South off this go towards Hencliffe Woods and the River Avon.

Situated at the top left of the picture is the Blue Bowl pub (the site of a Roman inn and the HQ of Oliver Cromwell when he attacked Bristol), with Hanham Hall half way down on Whittucks Road. Hanham Hall has a large wooded and orchard area to the East that blocks LOS from Stonehill. The fields in and around Hanham are poor grade pasture with some hayfields yet to be harvested. The walls and hedges are impassable to vehicles as they often have drainage ditches next to them.

Turn 1
BUF. With the KFC and Morris Miners still on route, Colonel Saunders advances cautiously up Whittucks Road with his tankettes.
The Glosters. Cpt Darling holds his position, whilst Major Lusch tries to move his men forward to make contact with the enemy (Blunder 8), but with none in sight, they stay put.

Turn 2
BUF. The Morris Miners arrive at the junction with Whittucks Road and take stock of the situation. The KFC also arrive but try and swiftly move to the attack (Blunder 6), but with no enemy in sight wait for orders. The Colonel waits for his troops to move forward more.
The Glosters. Cpt Darling still holds his position dominating the road, whilst the Major once again is racked by indecisiveness (Blunder -2 CV next turn).

Turn 3.
BUF. The KFC and Morris Miners advance cautiously on either flank, with the Colonel reluctant to move his tankettes forward.
The Glosters. Cpt Darling moves forward slightly on the right flank to gain better fire positions. Major Lusch finally swings into action moving his infantry forward to dominate the approaches to the hill, with the mortar and artillery opning up on the Morris Miners, suppressing one unit.

Turn 4
BUF. Stung into action, the Morris Miners move smartly forward towards the farmhouse and fields beyond. The KFC move slowly towards the Blue Bowl, possibly fearful of the gunfire they heard to the South. The Colonel moves his tankettes foward to cover the advance of the KFC as well as looking for targets of opportunity.
The Glosters. With no targets, Darling holds whilst the Major is once again over come by indecision.

Turn 5.
BUF. The Morris Miners advancing towards the hedgeline and hayfields, come under some small arms fire, which they return with interest. Some units on both sides suppressed. Following the Miners lead, the KFC advance on the left flank, with the armoured car running the gauntlet of AT rifle fire unscathed to try and turn the Glosters' flank. In a fine postion, it comes under friendly fire but is ok (Blunder). The Colonel not to be outdone, goads his tankettes into action which destroy an infantry unit as well as supressing the AT rifle unit.
The Glosters. Cpt Darling responds magnificently to the threat to his flank, ordering a unit to assault the armoured car, which they do, shouting "Don't worry Darling, we'll be ok", leaving the armoured car a smoking wreck. Unfortunately the Major is not made of the same stuff as Cpt Darling and once again his indecision gets the better of him.

Turn 6.
BUF. The Morris Miners take the intiative and once again go on the tattack, but then fail to hear their orders from Bill Morris. The KFC start to get going, moving and firing as they go, abley supported by the tankettes. The Glosters AT rifle unit is forced back by the sheer volume of fire.
The Glosters. Cpt Darling, realising the serious threat to his flank, moves a unit to the fence to try and shore things up, but opportunity fire from the tankettes prevents any further action. The Major, finally realising the threa to both flanks, gets a flurry of orders off. Initiative fire from the infantry, followed by support fire from the MG, mortar and artillery unit, results in the destruction of 2 Morris Miner units. Unfortunately a planned  attack on the tankettes exposed flank fails at the last minute.

Turn 7
BUF. The Morris Miners, shaken by the loss of their colleagues, move to cover, whilst the KFC continue to move anf fire but to little effect. The tankettes once again come to the rescue, with another Glosters unit  succumbing to their firepower.
The Glosters. Cpt Darling has little left to fight with on his flank, so keeps a low profile. On the left, the fire of the various units has little effect now that the Morris miners have taken cover.

Turn 8.
BUF. With dusk darkening the battlefield, both the Morris Miners and KFC take the intitiative and go onto the attack, suppressing units. With the gathering gloom, the KFC fail to receive a crucial order to press home their attacks, with the Colonel failing to get through as well.
The Glosters. Cpt Darling has nothing left to command on his flank, whilst on the left Major Lusch manages to get some orders through, which results in suppressing a unit of Morris Miners.

BUF Losses: 1 Armoured Car and two Militia units.
The Glosters' Losses: Two infantry units.
Result: Major victory for the Glosters as they still held the objective and had inflicted more losses on the BUF forces than they had taken.

Final positions on the Glosters' left flank.

Final positions on the Glosters' right flank.

General Thoughts.
A very enjoyable solo game, the first that I have played in a very long time. BKC works very well for solo games and I look forward to being able to play more of these in the future.

I think having the time to come up with the background to the scenario helped in making it a fun game. Being a local bash as well added another dimension as I know the terrain that the battle was being fought over. I think that this is one of the attractions of AVBCW. With a bit of local history thrown into the mix with reagrds to the forces involved adds another nice dimension. 

Next up will be some form of counter-attack by the Glosters when I have some more units painted up, or possibly Italians vs Brits in Greece 1941.

Thursday 26 May 2011

A Very British Civil War

With a bit of luck, I aim to get in a solo game this weekend of BKCII, as our daughter is off to Scout Camp from Friday until Monday. The small issue of it being our Wedding Anniversary as well tomorrow may scupper my plans! Also, our Son may want to 'assist' with his Daleks, which may tip the balance in his favour somewhat.

My plan, taking into account the above, is to play a small game on a 4'x4' table based in and around Hanham on the outskirts of Bristol where I live. I discovered that Stanfords Map shop in Bristol sells reproductions on 1920 OS Maps that have been digitally enlarged to bring them in line with the current Landranger series. For £7.99 they are a bargain and very useful reference for AVBCW. So this will provide a guide the broad layout for the terrain coupled with my local knowledge of the area.

I will be using Pendraken 10mm figures and vehicles with home made terrain and card buildings downloaded from the internet. I have yet to decide upon a scenario, but it will be broadly based around local BUF and Italian CTV forces attacking some form of the local Gloster Yeomanry. If things all go to plan, pics and an AAR will follow.