Friday 26 December 2014

Trial by Battle - The Hundred Years War - volume I

Over the years I have read many, many history and military history books. Some stick in the mind as superb examples of their craft for their time, for example:
  • 'Blitzkreig' by Len Deighton. The first book that took a measured and impartial view of the war. Apparently he was not popular for suggesting that the British arms and equipment, as well as performance, was not what it had been perported to be...
  • 'A Bridge Too Far' by Cornelius Ryan. It could be argued that this book created the 'Arnhem' myth. It certainly set off my love of the Paras that exists to this day.
  • 'Armageddon' by Max Hastings. To my mind a superb writer who not only covers the broad breadth of a conflict with consummate ease, but illustrates it with superb and telling detail. Harrowing at times, especially with regards the Eastern Front, it is a book I return to time and time again.
  • 'It Never Snows In September' by Robert Kershaw. A stunning book that covers the Operation Market-Garden campaign from the German point of view. It explodes some of the myths from 'A Bridge Too Far', but is extremely well written and even handed in its approach. If anything I now prefer this to 'A Bridge Too Far'.
To the above I can now confidently add 'Trial by Battle' by Jonathan Sumption. It is certainly one of the very best history books that I have ever read. What makes it even more remarkable is the fact that he wrote it in his spare time, despite him being a practising QC. The level of detail is superb, combined with the broad brush required for this seminal conflict in English history. For anyone interested in this period, I think it is one of the 'must have' books for the library shelf.

In wargaming terms, there is so much to choose from already, and I haven't even reached Crecy yet! The campaign in Flanders, the tit-for-tat raids in Gascony or the conflict in Brittany? Which to choose from?

Well I've plenty of time to choose, or even game all of them. But so far my plans are to use the following rules for the conflict:
  • 'Songs of Shadows and Dust'. Although set in ancient Rome, it is easily transferable to the HYW. A lot of the scenarios are ready made for the intrigues at Avignon, in Brittany etc.
  • 'Songs of Arthur and Merlin'. Scaling up slightly from the above, these will work well for settings such as the banditry in Brittany during the truce of Malestroit. With at times only a dozen or so men involved, they seem a perfect fir for this.
  • 'Lion Rampant'. So when the big boys get involved with their retinues in Flanders, Gascony etc, these will be my 'go-to' rules. Again the scenarios and lists are all there waiting to go.
  • 'Hail Caesar'. For any battles larger than a personal retinue, whether a relatively small scale action, or all the way up to Crecy or Agincourt.
So, this will be one of my projects for 2015. How well I achieve my aims remains to be seen. I plan to use the same 'set up' for my Baltic Crusades project. Let's hope I can maintain focus and get some painting done soon to get this up and running.

2014 - A Wargaming Year in Review

I noticed that a few people started posting year end reviews in 2013 on their Blogs and on various forums, which I found quite interesting, in terms of comparing how much they played, painted etc compared to myself. So over the past year I've been keeping a similar type of list so that at years end I can look back and see how I've done. So without further ado:
Rules Bought:
Hail Caesar
Lion Rampant (complimentary copy) 
Songs of Shadows and Dust 
Songs Arthur and Merlin
Songs of Shakos and Drums
No End In Sight 

Early in the year I bought Hail Caesar and Pike & Shotte so that I could game a wide period of history, but with rules that use the same mechanics. For me this means I don't have to constantly try and remember rules for differenr games, but can concentrate on my tactics and the game. It works for me, but maybe not for others. The 'Songs of' series were bought with the expressed intention of using these as the starting point for a campaign, working on from these small skirmish actions, up through Lion Rampant (in the case of Medieval game) all the way onto to full blown games of Hail Caesar, Black Powder et al.

Gruntz and No End In Sight were not quite sput of the moment purchases, but were bought of the back of some trial games (see below), good AARs on forums and a desire to play something a little different.

Wargaming Books Bought:
Kingdom of Heaven supplement for Clash of Empires (used as reference for my Baltic Crusades project)
Osprey Men-at-Arms series on Scandinavian and Russian Medieval armies (for my Baltic Crusades project)
Warhammer Historical - The Age of Arthur supplement (used for my Dux Bellorum games)
At the Sharp End - CoC campaign supplement (pdf and given a printed and bound copy) 
Programmed Wargames Scenarios by C S Grant
The English Civil War: An Illustrated History 
Sleeping Dragon, Rising Sun, an IHMN supplement
Lots of military history books for WWII and the Hundred Years War

I'm suprised at how many books I have bought this year. The Osprey ones were a birthday present and some of the military history ones for Fathers Day. The others were bought for specific reasons, such as the Baltic Crusades project. I love books and have for as long as I can remember, so I expect that next years list will contain many more purchases.

Games Played:
Dux Bellorum - 2
Blitzkreig Commander II - 4
In Her Majesty's Name - 4
Black Powder - 0
Hail Caesar - 0
Pike&Shotte -1
Chain of Command - 2
KR-16 - 6
Gruntz - 2
Ogre - 1 
Modern Skirmish Beta rules - 1 

Every year I don't feel that I've played that many games, as like buses, they tend to come along all at once. Also the wonderful Summer put pay to many planned solo games. So 23 games is much more than I was expecting, working out at around 2 a month. Many of the games have been solo offerings, as my regular gaming partners have moved away or taken on new jobs which means that their gaming time is limited. Michael of Angel Barracks has provided the most games, with Monday nights becoming a regular get together evening for KR-16, recently including a campaign.

Warbands, Battlegroups or Armies Painted:
BKCII - WWII British Battlegroup
IHMN Orc Company 
BPI Platoon for KR-16
Junkers Platoon and Bullfrog vehicles for KR-16
WWI & Inter-War AFVs for AVBCW Kings German Legion

I'm not suprised that I've painted so little this year. Having a day job as a modelmaker for a design company, often when I get home in the evenings the last thing I want to do is paint toy soldiers. Add in the lovely Summer as mentioned above and I think you have the core reasons for my low productivity. Hopefully next year will be better (see below for details).
Baltic Crusades for Dux Bellorum and/or Hail Caesar
Hundred Years War for Hail Caesar
Operation Epsom Campaign for CoC and BKCII
In Her Majesty's Name "The Tractate Middoth" Campaign.
In Her Majesty's Name - Various Companies
The Great Game for BP and/or BKCII.

I always have lots of projects and ideas on the go, but little time to make them reality. Out of the above, none of them have really taken off the ground, mainly for the reasons given above in the other 'sections'. 

Figures Bought:
Baltic Crusades - Swedish Crusaders (Pendraken)
Baltic Crusades - Republic of Novogorod (Pendraken)
HYW - English (Pendraken)
HYW - French (Pendraken) 
SMER/Heller 1/180 Viking Drakkar Longship (for both Dux Bellorum and the Baltic Crusades)
The Great Game Russians & Afghans (Pendraken)
The Great Game British & Afghans (Pendraken)
1/144th scale planes 
3 x 28mm mdf buildings from Sarissa Precision for use with IHMN 
Woodbine Miniatures Morris Men and Scarecrows for IHMN 
Empress Miniatures Modern British for No End In Sight
Airfix Supacat Jackal and soldiers for No End In Sight 
Ironclad Miniatures Steamtank for IHMN
GW Ork Dreadnoughts for IHMN 
Del Prado train for AVBCW & WWII

I was suprised at how much stuff I have bought this year. Thank God SWMBO doesn't know the full extent of it!!! The Baltic Crusades, HYW and Great Game purchases were for planned projects that have yet to see the light of day. The stuff for IHMN, most of which is assembled but is yet to be painted. The other items have been to flesh out or add detail to existing forces, but are still awaiting my attention.

General End of Year Thoughts.
If nothing else I have found keeping a list a very useful exercise. I played more games than I thought, bought more stuff than I thought and painted less than I thought. So a few points in more detail that help explain this years performance:
  • Gaming Room. Like many gamers I lack a dedicated gaming room. This means that getting games in more often than not revolves around availability of the dining room to lay a game out. Given that it takes me a couple of hours to set up a BKCII game, 2-3 hours of gaming time then an hour to put it away, you can see why it is not always possible to get a game in. Even with say Dux Bellorum, it would take me 3-4 hours start to finish. 
  • Painting Room. I don't have one. When the kitchen is free in the evening then I can set my stuff up. I would love to have my own area but this is not a realistic prospect for the foreseeable future. Despite this I think my job is the main reason for my poor painting output.
  • Too Many Projects. I have far too many on the go. Simple as that. Plus I'm always thinking of new ones or being distracted by projects or shiny new minis on other Blogs, forums etc. 
Plans for 2015.
Having looked realistically at my 2014 performance, the following are my broad objectives for next year:
  • Paint More. Nice and simple but probably the hardest to achieve!
  • Game More. Given that I had, for me, a high number of games this year, this may seem strange. However I want to try and get more linked games or mini-campaigns in, rather than the scatter gun approach of this year. Also to play a wider variety of games. To this end I'm planning on making some painted blocks to allow me game a wide period with only two 'armies'. This will not only allow me to get more games in, but to get to know which units I really need for any given period. Details to follow next year on these.
  • Projects. Try and maintain more focus on a project, rather than my normal stop-start, which is rather annoying. This will tie in nicely with both of the above points.
  • Buy Less. Probably the easiest to achieve (famous last words), given this years purchases and my current lead mountain.
So these are my plans. As of January 1st I will be reducing my working week to only 4 days, due to health and family reasons. This will give me much more time to try and achieve the points outlined above. Only time will tell how I get on but I will be interested to see how things compare this time next year!

Sunday 21 December 2014

Dash for Dunkirk 1938

Looking back over this year I have actually had very few games of Blitzkreig Commander II. It's not for want of trying, but just as I plan to have a game, something seems to come along and 'spoil the show'. However with the run up to Xmas the planets seemed to have aligned in my favour, giving me some gauranteed free time to get a game in. Having recently finished off an A7V and armoured cars from Pendraken for my AVBCW The King's German Legion, it was only fitting that the game would feature the behemoth that is the A7V. The game would be a stand alone one rather than part of the Storm Clouds Gather campaign that we have been running, albeit rather spasmodically over the past few years.

Elements of the Loyal Army of the South have conducted a raid into South Gloucestershire and are returning along the road to the relative safety of Old Sodbury. The raid caught the Army of the Severn Valley with their pants down, but having recovered their composure, two seperate forces are converging on Dunkirk with the aim of cutting off their escape route.

Scenario 8: Encirclement
As per the rulebook on page 39. The game will be played on a 4'x4' table, due to space and time constraints

Army of the Severn Valley
The King's German Legion 3rd SS 'Black Forest Battalion:
1 x CO (CV9) SS-Obersturmbannfuhrer Horst Jankowski
1 x HQ (CV8) SS - Sturmbannfuhrer Otto Krug
1 x Recce armoured car
6 x Infantry Regulars with 2 AT rifle upgrades
1 x MG support unit
1 x Pz I
1 x Pz A7V (as per MKIV male)

British Union of Fascists, Kingswood Fascist Commitee branch
1 x CO (CV9) Major Reilly-Ffoul
1 x HQ (CV8) Captain H P Flashman
1 X Recce scouts
9 x Infantry conscripts with 3 AT rifle upgrades
3 x MG support units
1 x 81mm mortar
1 x 37mm ATG with tow
1 x Artillery support unit with tow
1 x Pz I

Loyal Army of the South
Prince Albert's Somerset Light Infantry
1 x CO (CV9) Lt-Col 'Biffo' Frimley-Green
2 x HQ (CV8) Major 'Bonzo' Atkinson & Captain ''Wagger' Thornton
1 x Recce Morris armoured car
9 x Regular infantry with 3 AT rifle upgrades
2 x MG support units
1 x 3" mortar
3 x Cavalry units (attached from 'Wagger' Thornton's  Imperial Light Horse)
3 x Vickers MkVI Light tanks
1 x Whippet Light tank
1 x MkIV male  tank
1 x 25mm ATG with tow
2 x 18 pdr artillery support units with tows

Wansdykes 5th People's Flying column
1 x HQ(CV8) Lieutenant-Commissar Norton Malreward
6 x Conscript infantry
1 x MG support unit
1 x 3" mortar 
2 x T-26 37mm tanks

The Loyal Army of the South deployed as per the scenario. As I would be playing the LAotS, I wanted some form of random deployment for my 'opponent'. To achieve this I simply allocated each HQ a marker, and deployed them 'blind' on each flank of the table. This way I wouldn't know when deploying what units would be where, adding a certain level of friction.

The Loyal Army of the South en route towards Dunkirk.
The 5th Peoples Flying Column Souht of the woods.
Elements of the PASLI lined up on the road.
'Wagger' on the left and 'Biffo' in the centre.

Turn 1
A slow start for the LAotS as 'Wagger' failed to move, as did 'Bonzo'. the Commissar made a careful move forward with the T-26s, but the infantry failed to follow their example. 'Biffo' seemed to circum to the same hesitancy, with the units under his command moving only slowly along the road.

For the AotSV, the BUF under Flashman made one move, whilst Reilly-Ffoul got off to a blinder, moving his units into a postion to cover the advance of the enemy right flank. For the KGL, Krug failed to appear but Jankowski moved on slowly, but at least the A7V behemoth had arrived.

A slow start for the LAotS.
Reilly-Ffoul of the BUF gets off to a blinding start.
Jankowski and the A7V behemoth move into action.

Turn 2
Once again 'Bonzo' failed to move in the centre, but 'Wagger' rushed up to the hedgeline, dismounting his cavalry and deploying the RHA 18 pdr. The supporting Vickers MkVIs lined up ready to provide supporting fire as required. On the right, the Commissar failed to get through to his units, but 'Biffo' moved down the road towards the crossroads. Opportunity fire from the BUF resulted in a hit on the RHA 18 pdr, but failed to suppress it.

Krug of the KGL failed to appear once again, but even Jankowski failed on a CV of 10! The BUF under Flashman continued to advance towards Dunkirk, whilst the units under Reilly-Ffoul caused a hit in a Vicker MkVI, only to see it bounce of as it made its armour save.

Both sides move slowly and carefully forward.
Flashman and his BUF move past hss CO, Reilly-Ffoul who is deployed nicely in the cornfield, awaintg 'Wagger' and his cavalry.

Turn 3
Sadly the Commissar of the 5th People's Flying Column was still having a patchy day, only being able to move his T-26s forward. Once again the infantry languished far behind in the woods. On the right flank 'Wagger' got his RHA 18 pdr to suppress the BUF mortar unit. 'Bonzo' finally got his act together and a combination of martr and hmg fire saw the demise of the BUF artillery support unit. The loss could be a major blow to the BUF units on the flank, but only time would tell. 'Biffo' moved up the Whippet and MkIV Male tank to the crossroads, with the latter exchanging fire with the A7V.

Krug finally arrived with his infantry and Pz I, but could do little but deploy out of sight behind the hedgeline, owing to the presence of the T-26s. Jankowski ordered his infantry to advance whilst the WWI tanks continued to trade blows, with both tanks armour coming to their rescue. At a crucial moment both Flashman and Reilly-Ffoul got cold feet and failed their command rolls!

Krug of the KGL arrive, but with an immediate threat from T-26s on their right flank.
The Kings German Legion face the lone MkIV Male at the Dunkirk crossroads.

Turn 4
Finally the 5th Peoples Flying Column Commissar switched his attention to his infantry, who made three successful orders and moved swiftly through the roads lining the road. The  mortar unit deployed and promptly suppressed the KGL AT rifle unit. On the right flank, 'Wagger' saw his RHA 18 pdr finish off the BUF artillery support unit, leaving this flank open for exploitation by his Vickers MkVIs. Seeing an opportunity, they rushed forward, surviving opportunity fire from the BUF AT rifle unit. 'Bonzo' saw the threat to the Vicker MkVis and directed his fire at the BUF AT rifle unit, suppressing it and forcing it back into the cornfiled. For now the tanks were relatively safe. Meanwhile the WWI tanks continued to fire at each other but with no effect. At least the RHA suppressed another AT rifle unit, which 'Biffo' knew would help his tanks survival.

Both Krug and Jankowski had limited options, given their current positons, but the latter moved his unsupressed infantry towards Dunkirk. The A7V took another hit in its duel with its WWI foe. Reilly-Ffoul made a tactical withdrawl to what he hoped would be a better defensive postion, now that he had lost hos mortar and artillery support units. Flashman carried on his move towards the Dunkirk crossroads in the hope of sealing off the escape route. However he was in danger of leaving his left flank and his CO exposed to a determined thrust from 'Wagger' and his troops, especially his armour.

The Loyal Army of the South move forward on both flanks and in the centre. The BUF right flank is hard pressed from 'Wagger' and his troops.

Turn 5
The Commissar continued to attack with his infantry, with combined fire suppressing the KGL AT rifle unit. 'Wagger' sensed an opportunity to turn the BUF flank, rushing his tanks forward and saddling up his cavalry. The Vickers MkVIs rushed past the BUF AT gun, with one being suppressed as it hove into view. The AT gun was quickly suppressed by a combination of mg fire from the tanks and the supporting RHA 18 pdr. 'Bonzo' quickly followed 'Waggers' advance, with his troops supressing another BUF AT rifle unit. The BUF were running out of options to counter the armoured threat on their flank, short of potentially suicidal close assault attacks. 'Biffo' added his fire to the attacks on the BUF, but failed his command roll at a critical point, where his was in a position to really press home his attacks on an exposed enemy.

Finally Krug was able to get his AT rifle team to fire at the T-26, managing to brew it up! He then rashly advanced his Pz I across the 5th PFC front to try and get to their flank, only to be supressed by opportunity fire from their AT rifle. Jankowski continued to move into the woods whilst the A7V tried to finish off the remaining T-26, but to no avail. A glimmer of hope appeared for Reilly-Ffoul as his AT gun unit finished off the stricken Vickers MkVI. Flashamn was securely esconced in the BUA of Dunkirk, but the BUF flank was well and truly exposed now.

Tanks brew up on both flanks as the attacks are pressed home.
Reilly-Ffoul is under severe pressure from all sides, taking mounting losses in the process.
Despite Flashman being in buildings at the crossroads, things are looking bleak for the BUF.
The WWI era tanks are threatend on both sides by the KGL and BUF.
The A7V tries to dominate the right flank.

Turn 6
Finally things came together for the Commissar as his remaining T-26 moved under initiative to attack the Pz I. He then rolled a double 1 on his command die, which led to the end of the Pz I and an AT rifle unit. With these out of the way the T-26 moved towards the large target that was the A7V. On the right flank 'Wagger' and his troops played a blinder, seeing the demise of an AT gun, mg and infantry unit. The cavalry advanced next to the Vickers MkVIs, with nothing to stop them leaving the table should they so wish. 'Bonzo' and his chaps did their bit, splendidly finishing off the last two BUF AT rifle units. In effect the BUF were no helpless against any form of armoured attack and could nothing to prevent the troops streaming past their open flank. To add insult to injury they were now at their breakpoint. With victory more or less in the bag, 'Biffo' moved his tanks back from the crossroads back down the road safe from view of the enemy.

The BUF passed their breaktest, but it was obvious that the game was lost as the LAotS had already achieved a minor victory. Their losses were minimal compared to the AotSV and there was no way they could prevent 'Wagger' and his troops easily exiting the battlefield to gain a major victory, so the BUF and KGL conceded defeat.

Reilly-Ffoul and his BUF cease to be an effective fighting force.
The KGL attempted counter-attack comes to nought.
'Biffo' moves his tanks to safety.
The KGL are severely depleted and present no realistic threat to the 5th PFC.
The right flank of the BUF has ceased to be able to offer any meaningful resistance.

Post-game Thoughts
Well first and foremost it was nice to be playing BKCII again after quite a break. Being able to field the A7V was great, even though it didn't exactly perform as hoped. There's always next time I suppose. So as always, a few post-game thoughts:
  • Even with boosted command values for both sides, the game got off to a slow start due to some pretty poor die rolling. Only a few times in the game did one side really get going, but when they did, it made a telling difference.
  • I'd forgotten how short some of the ranges are for tanks of this period, especially their AP values. I will have to pay more attention to these in terms of selection and deployment.
  • Mortars, infantry guns and artillery support units are very telling in terms of their potential firepower and can be real game changers. This certainly happened in this game.
  • Cavalry are very, very useful due to their speed. There are no rules for horse artillery that I can see, so I decided that they would have the same movement value as normal cavalry. They are however very vulnerable to any form of fire whilst mounted, so they should be used with care.
  • Some of the tanks for this period are very slow, reflecting their WWI vintage. Not suprisingly they need constant infantry support, but afterall the game is all about combined arms.
  • I need to add a few units here and there for all sides to make sure I have broadly rounded forces. The T-26s seem streets ahead of the other tanks in my collection, so I can see the need to paint up some inter-war British AFVs.

Saturday 20 December 2014

Action at Anshan - KR-16 Campaign Game 2

With the Junker Insurgents suffering rather heavy casualties in the first campaign game, the Regional Defence Force felt emboldened to move into the Junkers heartland of Anshan. The following scenario is based upon this move by the RDF.

The RDF have been contacted by Steve Chang about a Junker Civilian whose has information regarding the whereabouts of some JI weapons caches. Not all Junkers are fans of the JI, so the RDF must head to Anshan to get the Junker civilian out so that he can pass on his information. If they do gain this information, it could be a massive blow to the Junker insurgency...

RDF Major Victory
Extract the informant off the table via their starting edge.
RDF Minor Victory
Find the informant but leave the table with the data contained on a storage device.

JI Major Victory
Recover the informant and take him off their table edge.
JI Minor Victory
Prevent the RDF from achieving their victory conditions.

Junker Insurgent Forces - 550 pts (+/- 20 pts)
As this would be a game in a built up area, requiring searching of houses, I went with the following mainly infantry based force:

2 x Rocket Squads
2 x Sniper Squads
1 x Sniper Team
1 x Power Armour Unit
2 x Bullfrog pick-up trucks

Turn 1 - JI Initiative
From the off a Bullfrog loaded with Junkers raced off towards the central building in Anshan, where it deployed its troops ready to start searching the building the following turn. Another infantry squad moved off as well as the sniper team, but other units were rather reluctant to join in the 'seek and destroy' mission. 

For the RDF, their Pathfinders failed to move, forcing the infantry to leave them and deploy toward the Anshan outskirts.

Junker civilians move uneasily in Anshan as both sides start to deploy for their respective missions.
Turn 2 - JI Initiative
The Junkers Insurgents continued to move into Anshan, deploying quickly to start searching the houses. The RDF moved their Pathfinders forward, firing into Anshan, suppressing one JI squad.

Turn 3 - JI Initiative
With the JI nicely deployed for their searches, they found the informant in the second house, before the RDF had had time to even enter Anshan. With a hidden JI squad amongst the civilians using them as human shields to cover the search mission, there was little the RDF could do to prevent the JI from silencing the informant. With little prospect of gaining any victory points without risking taking significant casualties, the RDF wisely decided to withdraw from Anshan.

The civilian population cover the JI as they search the houses of Anshan.
Well a susprisingly quick and bloodless game after the previous bloodbath for the Junker Insurgents. So a few thoughts as always on the game:

  • The speed with which the JI were able to reach Anshan in their Bullfrogs helped them get the jump on the RDF.
  • Gaining the initiative each turn helped the JI, especially with this sort of scenario.
  • Finding the informant in the second house turned the game massively in the Junkers favour. The RDF simply did not have time to get into the game.
  • Having a Junker Insurgent squad hidden amongst one of the three civilian groups really helped them. The RDF could not be sure if and when they might be ambushed. Given this is part of a campaign, losses can become crucial very early on, as we saw in the first game.
  • The civilians being able to move anywhere each turn meant that the RDF could not get any clear lines of sight to the JI, thus allowing them to search in relative safety.
  • Michael was suprised at my infantry heavy force, expecting me to take a rocket Bullfrog along to threaten his Pathfinders. This is the fun part of a campaign, finding out what your opponent is bringing to the table. It makes you really think about your force and one that suits the scenario.
Despite it being a very quick game, it was fun to play and the campaign is starting to get a nice momentum and feel to it. The Junker Insurgents now have a very nice additional 100 points to spend on replacements or new units as they see fit. After game 1 this is most welcome.

As for the next scenario, we bounced around a few ideas, but have to wait for Michael to firm them up into something more concrete. Work and the Xmas period will mean that the next chapter of the campaign will have to wait until the New Year in all probability. This will give me time to paint up some more units as well as have a think on how to spend my VPs.

Saturday 6 December 2014

KR-16 Junkers Insurgents Campaign Force

So after the first game in our campaign, how are things looking for the Junker Insurgents? Well my starting force was as follows, which came to a total of 1085 points. We had a starting total of 1100 points, so this was close enough for me given the troops at my disposal.

4 x Squads with Sergeant, Rocket Launcher and 3 Freedom Fighters - 400 points
4 x Squads with Sergeant, Sniper and 3 x Freedom Fighters - 436 points
3 x Bullfrogs - 90 points
1 x Bullfrog with Rocket Pod - 67 points
1 x Bullfrog with GMG (a Steve J Autos conversion) - 59 points
1 x Junker Power Armour (a Steve J Autos walker unit conversion) - 33 points

As you can see, a fairly infantry heavy force with some speedy Bullfrogs which are very useful for certain scenarios, plus a bit of mobile firepower in the form of the Bullfrog conversions and Junker Power Armour.

Campaign Turn 1
I started off with a force of 349 points out of a possible 350. Losses were rather high to say the least, losing:

1 x Sergeant - 22 points
2 x Rocket Launchers - 42 points
6 x Rifles - 114 points
1 x damaged Bullfrog Rocket launcher (34 points to replace)

Total Losses: 212 points

I gained 45 Victory Points for damage done to the RDF force. So after the first game, I have the following points at my disposal to replace losses:

Total: 45 points

So after the first game I'm down a total of 167 points, which is quite a lot. Fortunately my large number of troops at the start of the campaign, gives me some cushion to absorb losses, but not for long if this rate of attrition continues. So I will await the next scenario before deciding upon how to spend my points on replacements, but I think the repair of the Bullfrog Rocket Launcher will be fairly high on the list...

Ambush Alley - Campaign Turn 1

Michael of Angel Barracks and I have been planning on trying a mini-campaign to test out some campaign ideas for his excellent KR-16 rules. After a few games over the past month or so, we have finally reached a point where we are ready to give them a run out.  So a few nights ago we got together to kick things off.

The RDF are on a routine patrol, checking out an area as there have been reports of Junker Insurgent activity. The Junker Insurgents have planned an ambush for the RDF and are laying in wait... 

The RDF set up in their deployment zone. The Junker Insurgents can set up hidden or as Junker Civilians. If hidden, please mark on the map prior to the game and only reveal when you try to command them and they pass their roll. So if you have a JI unit hidden and you tell them to aimed fire and they fail, they stay hidden. If they pass then you reveal them and they aim fire. For civilians, then use the normal JC rules.

Points Each side has 350.
Junker Major Victory
Kill over half the RDF troop total including at least 1 officer.
Junker Minor Victory
Destroy all RDF vehicles and at least 1 officer.
RDF Major Victory
Lose no more than 50% of the troop total, and kill more than 50% of the JI troop total or cause them to retreat.
RDF Minor Victory
Get at least 50% of the RDF troop total off the far table edge

Junker Insurgents Force
2 x Squads with rocket launchers
1 x Sniper team
1 x Bullfrog with rocket system
1 x Junker Power Armour unit 

I set up my forces with an infantry squad either side of the 'road', with the aim of catching the RDF troops and/or vehicles in crossfire as they passed by. The sniper team was deployed at the end of the road to give the maximum amount of time to fire on their targets. The Power Armour unit was deployed along with one of the infantry squads, whilst the Bullfrog was kept hidden behind some woods, with the aim of attacking the RDF in the rear.

Turns 1 - 2 RDF Initiative
The RDF completely fail to activate their units, earning the sobriquet of "Run, Don't Fight".

The RDF IFVs at their jump off points.
Turn 3 RDF Initiative
One Pathfinder IFV arrives on the table, but the Junkers keep their powder dry

Turn 4 RDF Initiative
The remaining Pathfinder arrives, drawing alongside its stablemate. The Junkers attempt to spring their ambush, but the Bullfrog fails to activate and one infantry squad opens fire at point blank range, only for the Pathfinder to make its save.

Turn 5 RDF Initiative
One Pathfinder moves forward and opens fire, but to no effect. The RDF Major attempts to lead his troops into an assault on the Junkers, but fails to activate. In response, the Junkers reveal their other infantry squad and their combined fire damages one vehicles aiming system and destroys another. The Bullfrog appears in the rear, but only manages to shake up the crew in Major's vehicle.

The Junkers Insurgents ambush in full swing, with the RDF taking fire from all sides.

Turn 6 RDF Initiative
The RDF once again win the initiative phase, which is becoming crucial. The RDF Major deploys from his damaged vehicle and immediately assaults the Junkers, but both sides completely miss each other. The Junkers continue to target the vehicles, hitting the running gear on one which slows it down, with the other becoming completely immobilised. Vehicle fire results in one Junker squad becoming shaken. At the end of the turn, the earlier assault is resolved, with two Junkers dead to one RDF.

The Pathfinder vehicles continue to take hits, but the RDF manage to deploy and assault the Junker Insurgents in the field.

Turn 7 RDF Initiative
The RDF continue their close combat assault, killing another two Junkers, whilst the remaining RDF squad is still stuck in its vehicle. The Bullfrog destroys the remaining Pathfinder weapon, but the Junker squad completely misses with its shots, which could prove costly.

The RDF assaults are taking their toll on the Junkers, but with their Pathfinder IFVs sustaining damage, the battle could go either way...

Turn 8 Junker Initiative
With a chance to really inflict damage on the RDF, the Bullfrog fails its activation roll, which proves costly, as the other RDF squad immediately deploys from its vehicle. Fortunately  they miss the Junkers squad that they are firing at, who throw molotov cocktails at them, resulting in them becoming shaken. The Junkers deploy their sniper team and power armour unit, whio all hits their tragets, only for them to make their saves. The RDF Major leads his troops in the assault that sees then end of one Junker squad. This is important as it gets them close to one of their victory conditions.

The battle swings decisively in favour of the RDF. With the loss off one squad, the Junkers position looks bleak. The RDF Major leads his squad to attack the Bullfrog pick-up truck, with spectacular results. Even the appearance of the Junker Power Armour unit cannot tirn the tide.

Turn 9 Junker Initiative
With the loss one one Junker squad, it is important that they start inflicting casualties on the RDF. The Junkers start off well, with their molotovs killing two RDF infantrymen, but the pwer armour unit fails to activate, just when in a position to really inflict damage on the RDF. In response the RDF Major leads his unit to attack the Bullfrog and immediately destroys its rocket pod. The Junkers continue to take losses, but continue to fight in the hope of gaining a minor victory. Once again the sniper team hit, but only shake their target.

Turns 10 - 13 Junker Initiative
Despite having the upper hand at the start of the turns, they fail to do any damage to the RDF units, but are slowly whittled down until it is only the sniper team left. With all chance of even a minor victory gone, the sniper team leave the table in the hands of the battered but victorious RDF.

Battered, bloody but unbowed, the RDF are in control of the battlefield.
At one point the Junkers were in a good position to do real damage to the RDF. However some crucial saves on the RDF part combined with equally crucial misses or failed activation rolls by the Junkers, cost the Junkers the game.

In the end the Junkers sustained 10 infantry losses, the power armour unit out of action and the Bullfrog damaged. Only the sniper team survived unscathed. In the post game rolls, the Junkers suffered extremely badly; out of 11 rolls, they failed 9 of them, losing 1 sergeant, 2 rocket launchers and 6 infantry.

Campaign Implications
With so many losses, this was about as bad a start to a campaign as can be imagined. Fortunately they have plenty of reserves, but need a good win in the next game. The RDF suffered minor losses in comparison and were able to replace virtually all of their troops. The next game is likely to be based in a main Junker settlement with the RDF trying to hunt down the insurgents.

Post Game Thoughts 
Campaign wise the game was a bloody start, but so far all seems to be working out ok in terms of the system used. I learnt the the RDF are lethal in close combat, so will try to avoid this at all costs. At one point the game descended into a grenade/molotov cocktail throwing contest, so post game we agreed to limit the amount of these that any squad could carry, which made sense to us. Ditto vehicles which will be limited to how much smoke they can lay down in a game.

Our next game should be in a couple of weeks, so am looking forward to this already, plus it will give me time to finish off some extra units. Hopefully home advantage for the Junkers should work in my favour.