Thursday 7 March 2019

A Seven Years War 'Post of Honou'r AAR

Today I made way into the Cotswolds to meet up with my good friend and gaming chum Keith Flint for another SYW game, once again using his 'Post of Honour' rules. These are a work in progress, but are quite polished and give a rather good game, so well worth checking out  here.

Keith chose to play Scenario 1: Positional Defence from CS Grant's excellent 'Scenarios for Wargames'. I was very happy with this as it's one I've wanted to play for quite some time. Keith had played this recently, with the attacking Prussians gaining a relatively easy victory, so tweaked things slightly by adding an extra infantry unit to the Austrians

I didn't take any notes as I was rather absorbed by the game, but hopefully the following will give you an indea of how the game panned out;

An overview of the game, with the Austrians deployed in and around the town and redoubts. The Austrians deployed first, thus allowing the Prussians to formulate a plan of attack.

This town was one of the objectives, so I put a unit of infantry and artillery inside, with two units of infantry in reserve.

The redoubts supported by two units of infantry.

The redoubt on the left flank, another of the objectives, supported by cavalry and Croats in the woods.

The Prussians begin their advance.

The artillery began to have a plethora of targets, but which one to choose?

The Prussian left flank advances in column, supported by cavalry.

The Austrians confident in the town await for the attacks to develop.

As the Prussians close in, the Austrian infantry move round the town to meet the threat.

The Austrians move infantry towards the town on the right flank (another objective) whilst still supporting the artillery within the redoubts.

The king is dead, long live the ... replacement! Combined fire from the town and redoubts sees Frederick killed and two Prussian infantry units hors de combat. Result!

The Prussian assault on the town begins to falter.

The Prussian left flank start to take hits before they've reached their objective.

With the loss of two infantry units, the Prussian attack is losing cohesion.

The fleeing Prussian units cause hits on other units as they pass through them.

The Prussian persevere with their attacks, which sees the Austrian foced out of the town, including the loss of their artillery unit.

The fight for the town intensifies.

The Prussians and Austrians contest the town .

The Prussian right flank is pushed back, whilst the attacks in the centre continue.

Artillery and enfilading fire see the Prussian infantry pushed back in some disorder.

The Austrians move back into the town and the same time as the Prussians.

The slog continues on the Austrian right, but the Prussians are taking casualties.

The beginning of the end for the Prussians.

The Prussians, despite being in the town, are close to breaking.

The same is true here.

The Prussians simply cannot make any head way against the redoubts.

Post Game Thoughts
Despite this only being my second game with these rules, they felt very natural in their mechanics and were easy to use, but more importantly gave a good game. Keith made some notes as we played, mainly to help clarify some things of minor tweaks here and there. I'm definitely looking forward to another game with these rules. 

So as always some thoughts on the game etc:
  • The scenario worked well and the book is a great resourece for gamers. Why it hasn't be re-published I don't know. Well worth keeping an eye out for if you can find it at a reasonable price.
  • Towards the end, we both agreed that the Prussian deployment had possibly cost them the game. I won't say what we thought as it might affect any of you playing the scenario, but careful thought is required by both sides.
  • I wasn't sure whether to put the Croats in the woods or the town on the right flank, but I think the woods play to their strengths and also help anchor the left flank.
  • 28mm games are much easier to take 'photos of and you can see why this makes them a popular size for magazines.
  • Once again it was a pleasure to play with Keith's SYW armies, which are very colourful and full of character. One day i will finally get around to my 10mm forces for this conflict, but don't hold your breath!

I'm hoping to get a game in this weekend, but I'm not sure what yet. Quite a few options and I'll see what grabs me when I'm ready. After my BKCII game, I've got a small list of stuff to order from Pendraken to complete my WWII Italians. I also want to add some highlights to them as they look a bit drab with just a Delin Mud wash. Hopefully this will make them pop a bit when on the table. Until next time.

Monday 4 March 2019

Greece 1941 - a BKCII AAR

Whilst sitting in my armchair watching the world go by and wondering what game to play next, my mind turned to the Balkans in 1941 and the Italians vs the Greeks. I've played this before and enjoyed it. So with some scribbling and sketching, I quickly came up with the following:
The Italians have broken through the Greek defences in the mountains, aided by the Germans turning the Greek flank. As a result of this, the Greeks are performing a fighting withdrawl as they leave the mountains and enter the plains. The British have sent some Vickers MkVI tanks to support them.

Scenario 7: Pursuit
As per the standard scenario in the rulebook.
First Turn counts as Dawn ( -1 CV, visibility 50cm).
Vehicles, ATGs & IGs may only cross the rivers by the bridge or fords.
Vehicles, ATGs & IGs may not cross the mountains.
Infantry may cross the rivers, counting them as Linear Obstacles for movement.
The Italian air support is to randomly roll which aircraft will target which areas (select the most likely ones) and on which Turn.

1 x CO (CV8)
3 x HQ (CV8)
1 x FAO (CV6)
1 x M/C Recce
9 x Regular Infantry
2 x MG
1 x Mortar
2 x ATG + Tow
1 x IG + Tow
6 x L3/35
3 x 75mm Artillery
1 x Cant Z Alcione Bomber
1 x Stuka

1 x Co (CV8)
2 x HQ (CV8)
9 x Regular Infantry
1 x MG
1 x Mortar
1 x ATG + Tow
1 x IG + Tow
3 x Vickers Mk VI

Table Layout
The Italians would be entering via the Northern table edge, with the Greeks deployed roughly in the middle of the table, between the bridge and the town.

Despite the blurry shot, I hope you can see the Greeks deployed amongst the rocky outcrops and the wood.

The Greek left flank.

The Italians ready for battle (or not...)

Turn 1
As dawn broke, the Italians got off to a shocking start, with their right flank Blundering (they would arrive next Turn) and the rest all failing their command rolls. Not exactly the ideal start. The Greeks didn't fare much better, with their left flank failing, but the centre and the armour starting to move back.

The end of Turn 1.

The Greeks start to move back towards the town for an orderly withdrawl.

Turn 2
The sound of engines could be heard in the distance, which heralded the arrival of the Italian bombers. They managed to avoid the flak that was thrown at them, then caused complete devastation as their payload rained down around the Greeks, destroying one tank and leaving eight units suppressed, some with 4 hits. To add insult to injury, the Italian FAO managed to call down an artillery strike, which destroyed and MG and Infantry unit as well as suppressing two others.

After such a good start, the Italian ground troops were frankly pretty poor, with only the Blundered unit from last Turn arriving automatically and the L3/35 tankettes moving on, only to Blunder, but at least they suffered no hits from the fire they received. Everyone else appeared to still be having early morning coffee.

The Greek left flank failed again and there was little else that could be commanded, as most units or HQs were suppressed.

The Italian bomber arrives, with its snazzy camo scheme...

... and leaves devastation in its wake.

The end of Turn 2.

The depleted Greek centre and armour.

The Italian ground troops finally start to arrive.

Turn 3
As the drone of the bomber disappeared, the Jericho siren of a Stuka could be heard. Once again the flak was ineffective, but the ATG &tow on the rocks managed to avoid being destroyed, but was at least suppressed. The Italian FAO was on a bit of a mission, as once again he called in his artillery, resulting in the loss of a tank, mortar unit, two infantry units and the CO suppressed. Ouch! It was only half way through Turn 2 and the Greeks were already 1 point away from their Breakpoint.

The L3/35 tankettes pushed forward, taking some hits from opportunity fire, but once again the rest of the Italian ground troops failed their command rolls. What are the chances...

The Greek left flank Blundered, leaving the HQ retreating, which was probably a wise move given all that they had suffered so far. Again, there was little, if anything, left to command as most other units were suppressed.

The Stuka arrives but fails to cause significant damage to the ATG unit.

The end of Turn 3.

Not much left of the greek centre of armour.

The beleagured Greek left flank.

Limbered up, the ATG unit doesn't fancy their chances against all those tankettes.

The L3/35s are across the bridge.

Turn 4
The Italian FAO once again caused misery and mayhem for the Greeks, as he switched his target to their left flank, suppressing three infantry units, the IG, MG unit and HQ. Things really look bleak for the Greeks now. The Italian ground troops are a pretty rum bunch, as once again they fail their command rolls. At least the tankettes attack, but fail to finish of the ATG amongst the rocks.

From bad to worse for the Greeks, as with their left flank suppressed, the centre HQ Blunders, leaving their CO on -2CV for this Turn and the next! What can one say...

The end of Turn 4

The suppressed Greek left flank.

A pretty hopeless situation on the Greek right flank.

End of the Game
The inevitable happened at the start of the Turn 5, with the ATG in the rocks destroyed by fire from the tankettes, which put the Greeks on their breakpoint, which the CO promptly failed. Frankly it was only a matter of time given the casualties they suffered in Turns 2 & 3.

Post Game Thoughts
Well, what can one say after a game like that? I'm not sure really, but I'll try:
  • I can't remember a game with so many Blunders and failed command rolls, alongside such devastating artillery and air support. Sometimes the die rolls just create these bizarre games.
  • Despite it being somewhat one sided, I did enjoy it, as it was an interesting scenario and I do enjoy playing the Italians, as I love their armour and aircraft. I did think it would be a tough call for the Italians, but how wrong I was. I might try and replay this scenario in the future just to see how it compares with this game.
  • The Italian bomber and off board artillery really were the stars of the show. They simply knocked the stuffing out of the Greeks in two Turns, from which they were never able to recover.
  • The Italian ground troops in contrast were shocking and they never fired a single shot!
  • The random target and turn selection worked well and this is something I've used before. For solo games it's always tricky with pre-planned strikes, but this seems to work sell enough for me.

So what's next? Well Adam and I are trying to get a mini-campaign underway, once we are able to meet up that is. I'm hoping it will be loosely based around the Allied invasion of Sicily, so that I can use some more of my Italian armour. This will also spur me on to actually paint said armour.

I'm also continuing with my Portable Wargames stuff and have a board in progress, but the figures haven't seen any progress of late due to the usual factors. So until next time...