Monday, November 14, 2011

Extra!! British and Italians clash on Egyptian border.

Greetings to all who gather here.
We had another Flames of War game on Sunday. This was the early war in North Africa, British vs Italian.
The British players commanded an Armoured Regiment of about 2500 points. Wendel and Bill were the two British commanders. Bill was in charge of the British right flank and Wendel was in charge of the left flank.
The Italian players fielded a Bersaglieri Company of about 1925 points. Greg Jr., Eric and Greg Sr. (myself) commanded the Italian forces. Eric commanded the Italian right flank with the second in command while Gregory commanded the left flank as overall commander and I handled the mobile forces.

The scenario was a free for all and the British were the attackers as they were armoured and the Italians were an infantry company. Our table had sparse terrain as we were trying to portray the desert area of Lybia near the Egyptian border. There was a village on the Italian left flank with a wadi running across the center of the table.

Here is a rundown of the forces involved:
British - Tank Regiment
Regimental HQ - 4 A-10 tanks
Heavy Cruiser company - 2 platoons of A-13 tanks with 3 tanks in each platoon
Light Cruiser company - HQ platoon with 1 A-10 tank and 2 A-9 tanks and 2 companies of 3 A-9 tanks each
Light Armoured company - 3 platoons of MkIV tanks 4 in the HQ platoon and 3 tanks in each of the other platoons
Anti Tank Platoon - 2 25lb guns in portee
Royal Horse Artillery Troop - 4 25lb guns

Italians - Bersaglieri Company
HQ with attached Solothurn A/T rifle
2 platoons of Bersaglieri infantry upgraded to Rifle/MG teams
Bersaglieri MG platoon
Bersaglieri A/T platoon with 3 47mm A/T guns
Bersaglieri Mortar platoon with 3 tubes
Cari Platoon of 5 M13/40 medium tanks
Medium Tank platoon with 5 M11/39 tanks
Demolisher Platoon
Cannon Battery - 4 75/27 guns with observer
Howitzer Battery - 4 105/28 guns with observer
A/T platoon - 4 47mm A/T guns
Light AA platoon - 2 20/65 guns portee
Limited air support - Fiat Falco with bombs

The British had the first move and used it to cover their advance into a small village on their right flank. They also fired the Royal Horse artillery in an effort to suppress the Italian Guns on that flank. This was part of their overall strategy to sweep the Italian left flank and take the objective that was there. The British fire was ineffective.
The Italians tried to dig in their infantry and man packed guns on their first turn as the British had not presented any targets for them. The Italian strategy for this game was to present as small a target as possible while pounding away at the British in an attempt to force them in making moral checks and driving them from the field due to losses. The Italians on the right flank managed to dig in but those on the left were having a difficult time of it. The Italian Air Force failed to make an appearance and the Italians fired their two artillery batteries but failed to cause any significant damage.

On turn two both sides continued with their strategy. The British were occupying the town on their right while posing a threat on their left. The Italians were trying to dig in their troops and inflict damage from afar with their artillery. This turn the Italian Air Force arrived to do its duty but were driven off by the RAF (rare as fairies).
Here is a shot of the game at turn three from the British side of the table. Note the time delay as the author forgot to take pictures of the previous turns even though he remembered to set up the camera the day before.

Here you can see the British in the town on their right and the placement of their artillery and anti tank guns. Also you may note the placement of the Italian troops across the way. On the British right is a Bersaglieri platoon with 3 anti tank guns with the mortars and 105 guns in support. Also the Italian commander is in this position as well.
A better shot of the village.

In this picture you can see a force of British tanks rushing to attack the Italian platoon of M11/39 tanks represented in our game by L6 light tanks. Also you can see the other main force of Italians holding their right flank. A Bersaglieri platoon with 4 47mm anti tank guns and the 75mm artillery in support. On close examination I see that this picture is at the end of turn three after the Italian commander of the right flank, Eric, inflicted a devastating barrage of fire from his anti  tank guns at the British armour crossing his path. He destroyed all but 1 tank in this show of Italian marksmanship. Sadly though on the Italian left flank commander Greg Jr. was having a devil of a time getting his troops to dig in. Something about brave men do not cower in the dirt. The Air force arrived on time only to be driven off by those pesky British fighters.

Here we see the Italian right flank with the platoon of M13/40 tanks advancing on the objective guarded by a British Cruiser platoon. Their advance started out well and they suppressed their foe by causing the tank crews to bail out but failed in destroying any vehicles.

Here we jump to turn 5. The British advance out of the village to bring their strategy to a successful conclusion. The British tanks produced a tremendous volume of fire that decimated the Italian left flank. The anti tank guns were destroyed, the Bersaglieri company blasted away, the light AA platoon gone, with only the brave company commander and his guns left standing!

Here the platoon of M11/39 tanks make last ditch effort to destroy the British HQ but to no avail. All this time Eric had been trying to support his brother officer with artillery fire but it was not enough.
Even though more than half of  the Italian company was still intact and very capable of carrying on the fight, they were forced to admit defeat as the British occupied and held the objective on their right as there were not any Italian forces close enough to challenge them.

All in all a great game. My sons (Greg and Eric) had played their first Flames of War game but they are not strangers to gaming by any means having grown up on roll playing and board games. Alas, my losing streak remains intact. A very well played game by Wendel and Bill who are each great gamers as well as good sports. Maybe I will have better luck next time.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Aerodrome - Fight in the skys

Hello to all,
Friday night Bill hosted an Aerodrome game at his house. Bill has acquired over 20 World War I aircraft and enough of the Aerodrome game panels and flight stands to entertain about 16 players. Friday though, we had 9 players and a fantastic time. All the players with the exception of myself were from Mid-America Wargamers. A great bunch of guys who have allowed me to participate in many of their games over the years. As a note, Bill's planes are each works of art. He has spent many hours assembling and painting these 1/72nd scale beauties. All planes have pilots and where appropriate the observer or rear gunner. Beautiful models to play with. He has mounted rare earth magnets on each plane to allow for easy removal from the flight stands for storage.

Our first game was a general melee with the following players.
Central Powers - Tom (DrI), Rob (an Albatross looking plane) and Greg (DrVII)
Allies - Bill (Se5a), Larry (Nieuport 17), Jack (Spad XIII) and myself  (Se5a)

Tom and I paired off and manoeuvred to get a good firing position. We both achieved this at the same time and blazed away at each other. Tom inflicted over 50% damage to my plane and also inflicted a critical hit, engine damage. This restricted the amount of actions I could chose in a turn. My blast caused Tom to take over 50% damage and also inflicted a critical hit on him. He suffered a leaking fuel tank and needed to roll each turn to see if his plane caught fire. Fortunately for Tom, he was able to fly out of the battle zone and head for home without catching fire. I on the other hand decided to head into the general melee that was raging in the center of the board. Even though I was damaged, there was still a chance to nail someone and still survive the fight. All I had to do was get into a good firing position while not getting shot at myself. While I manoeuvred my damaged craft, we lost one of our flier's. Larry in the Neiport was shot to ribbons.
Well I managed to get int a great position to inflict major damage to an opponent but he also did the same to me. We were heading at each other for the famous head on pass! The Aerodrome rules make combat devastating if you are in the right spot at the right time and each of us had achieved this. The amount of damage inflicted to each plane was sufficient to destroy each plane. So Greg and Greg (myself) shot each other down. Shortly after this the last Central Power player (Rob) decided that it was time he escaped the Allied wrath.
All in all I have to give the Central Powers the edge in this battle as the Allies lost two planes and two pilots while the Central Powers lost one plane and only one pilot but did not retain the field of battle.

The second game brought a new element into the game, rear gunners. Up to this point none of us had ever played with two seater planes and Bill had built and painted 3 of these just for that night.

The side changed slightly and we were as follows.
Central Powers - Bill (DrVII), Jack(DrVII, Larry(DrI) and Greg(DrVII)
Allies - Tom(Bristol F2b), Rob(Bristol F2b) and myself (Bristol F2b)

The Allies had a plan to fly in formation to take advantage of the combined firepower of their planes but for some unexplained reason I thought that I could do better if I could get into a position that would allow my rear gunner to have a wide range of targets to choose from. I actually flew out of the fight for a short time and when I got back into the fray Bill had suffered damage and a critical hit, a severed fuel line. This like the punctured fuel tank required that Bill roll each turn to see of he caught fire, and he did.
As I got lined up to try to assist the rest of my flight I was able to take a shot at Bills flaming plane as he tried to land the plane and at least save his pilot from being killed. I added to the damage he had suffered but it made little difference in the long run as Bills pilot was killed on landing.
Back to the main fight and I again manoeuvred into a great firing position, along with two of the Central Powers planes. I was again in that nasty head on pass position with my enemies at different altitudes but each still able to fire at me. I took my best shot between Greg and Larry and inflicted a fair amount of damage but I took an incredible amount of damage form each of my attackers and was left barely holding on. While trying to get out of the line of fire of my previous attackers I managed to get into the line of fire of Jacks DrI and am shot to pieces! Dead again. I should have followed orders and held our formation.
The rest of our flight circled around from each side again trying for a good firing position.
Larry who had suffered fuel tank damage escapes from the battle but does not catch fire. So at this point the sides are even as to planes in the sky but the Allies have the advantage in the number of guns. Greg gets double teamed by Tom and Rob and is shot down while Jack also decides that discretion is the better part of valor and heads for home.
This game was a definite Allied victory as we only lost one plane to the Central Powers three and we retained control of the sky.
Everyone had a good time playing the game and as always the gathering of like minded gamers itself lends to an enjoyable evening.
Thanks again to Bill for hosting the game and many apologies for not bringing my camera to show off his fine work. Perhaps I can include pictures soon.
Good gaming to all.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Last Tactica game for this campaign season.

Hail to all who read this report!
This will be the last Tactica game for a while as poor campaign weather is moving in (Mike's basement is too cold in the winter for gaming and he declines to send his troops to foreign lands). We will still report on other battles from other eras as they occur. Next week I should have a report on a WW1 air game from the skys of Bill's house.

The game we played Saturday was Carthage vs Rome. This has to be one of my favorite anchient face offs. As you may or may not know, in Tactica to defeat you enemy you need to destroy half of his main battleline units. The Carthaginians had 12 main units of heavy infantry. In addition there were 2 units of medium Spanish infantry, 2 units of elephants, 4 units of heavy cavalry, 4 units of light cavalry and 6 units of light infantry. Facing them were the Romans with 16 main units of heavy infantry (smaller in size to the Carthaginians), 4 units of heavy cavalry, 4 units of light cavalry and 7 units of light infantry. In reality the forces were fairly even.

Each side started by deploying their forces as their commanders saw fit. The commanders were as follows:
Carthage - Bill - Supreme Commander and had the Left wing.
                 Wendel - Commander of the Right wing.
                 Jamie - Commander of the center
Rome - Greg (myself) - Supreme Commander and had the center.
             Mike - Commander of the Right wing.
             Ken - Commander of the Left wing.

Thre Roman plan was to hold each flank and drive through the Carthaginian center, turning either left or right to roll up their battleline. The Carthaginian plan was to hold back their center to draw in the Romans while trying to defeat one flank or the other and then roll up the Romans battleline. Carthage used their light troops to support their cavalry while Rome used theirs to inflict casualties from a distance and to act as blocking and delaying forces to hold up the Carthaginian cavalry attacks.

The game started with a general advance by the Romans who wanted to close as soon as possible.

Note the Romans shifting troops to their right to try to take advantage of the thin line of Carthaginians on that side.
Rome was advancing acros the field and eager to get to grips with their enemy as soon as possible. At the same time, Carthage moved up some of their medium infantry to support their cavalry attacks on their right flank.

Roman advance on the Carthaginian left flank.
Once the flanks were engaged, great fights were fought and deeds were done that will be told in barracks around the world for generations to come! Light troops were driven under the hooves of the Carthaginian cavalry but the Roman cavalry, supplied by their allies were more than true to their word today. Seeing only glory and gold in sight they fought tremendous odds and held fast! Mike rolled no less that 4 moral saves for his cavalry needing a 10,11 or 12 each time on two 6 sided dice! The power of Rome was evident today.

Eventually the flank attacks ground down as fewer and fewer troops were left to fight.

On the Roman left flank Ken was dishing our more of the same and first stopping the Carthaginian cavalry in its tracks and then slowly forcing them back. This was no mean feat as Wendel on the Carthaginian right is one of the best cavalry commanders in our games. But today he was cramped into the corner as the troops were too numerous for the field of battle.

This caused the Carthaginian commander to ammend his plan and ordered an advance by the Carthaginian heavy infantry.

Now the heavy fighting was in the Roman right center and a victory here would allow the Romans to roll up the Carthaginians and win the day. The Carthginian's allied Spanish troops were eliminated and the elephants were prevented from breaking through to create havoc behind our lines. But what is this? The Carthaginians heavy infantry, well rested and fresh to the fight started destroying the Warriors of Rome causing gaps to form in thier line.

All across the front Roam units were leaving the field in the face of a determined Carthaginian advance. All the damage caused by Jamie's well lead Spanish medium infantry and the feared elephants was starting to tell as unit after unit disintigrated. No brave stands as the Roman allies had preformed, just shame and disaster. The battle was lost and again the Gods have forsaken me!
Well better luck next time. Maybe next week I will keep from getting shot up as a WW1 pilot.

As always I ave some eye candy from Mike;s great colection.

These are Gripping Beast figures with Aventine chariots in the back ground.

Here is shot of the back. Note the detail work on the capes.

These are the Aventine chariots from the front. Great figures!!!

Another great figure from Aventine.

So there we have it my friends. Another defeat snatched from the jaws of victory. Will this never end!
Coming soon as I mentioned, the WW1 air game from Bill's house and we will be having a Flames of Ear game at my place in November. The British vs the Italians early in the campaign in North Africa. This time I will have a secret weapon, both of my sons will be playing and I certainly can not let them down. besides, their die rolling abilities are legendary in our gaming world.
Good gaming!


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Another great game at Mike's

A hearty Hail Caesar to all. Here are a few pictures from our game at Mike's yesterday. Rome vs Phyrus.
Sorry to say that my Tactica mojo is very rusty and I lost as one of the Roman commanders (this is twice in a row! May the Gods forgive me.).
This is a shot of the enemy's right flank. Note all of those nasty rows of pike.

Here is a closeup of the Greek heavy and light cavalry.

These are some of the Romans Italian allied forces.

One of Mike's many many Roman cohorts.

Our Italian allies advance on our right flank. We were hoping to break one flank or the other and then sweep the board. But this was not to be. The Greeks forces (Wendel and Phil) held their flanks and broke the Roman center.

A picture of our left flank during the second move.

A closeup of some of the elephants we were trying to deal with. Our light infantry was massed and used to break up the elephants attacks.

Mikes new Italian allied chariots and the allied command.
One of Mikes Italian allied units. And yes, every shield pattern is hand painted.

A staged picture of the Italian allied cavalry.

One of the many pike units we encountered. Again all shields are hand painted.

Finally a shot of our Roamns trying to fend off the attack of all those pikes! Our thin white line.
Thanks to all who participated and especialy to Mike for hosting the game and letting us play with his fantastic figures. Maybee next time I will sacrafice a goat instead of a chicken.

A surprise ending

Hello to all who partake of our gaming adventures.
We had another Tactica game at Mike's house yesterday and boy oh boy we did not expect it to play out the way it did.
We were gaming a very early Roman battle that involved barbarians from the Alimani area vs very early Romans when they still used the Greek pike formations. Historically this battle took place near Rome by a large stream and the Romans got their clocks cleaned. Our game had a slightly different ending.
The players were:
Mike, the Roman commander and our host.
Larry, The Roman second in command.
Greg (myself), the Barbarian commander.
Bill, the Barbarian second in command.
And please forgive me but we had a third Barbarian commander who's name I find that I can not remember. This in no way detracts from the fact that he was a great gamer and a good sport.

Here is how the game started with the Romans set up with a strong defensive plan and the Barbarians ready to strike.

The Barbarian plan was to sweep the Roman left flank and roll up their line to the right while the rest of the Barbarians held their attention.
The flank attack was going very well.

But then the Romans decided to get aggressive and smashed into the Barbarian center.

This caused the destruction of two important war bands for the Barbarians and broke open the center of the line for the Romans to advance.

The Romans had snatched certain victory away from the Barbarians by marching most of their heavy infantry off the board into the Barbarian baggage camp and away from the destructive attack of the Barbarian war bands. THE GAME WAS A DRAW! In all of our years (22 of them) playing Tactica we have never had a draw. Mike had played a very good game and I fear that our over confidence may have caused us to see the victory slip from our grasp.
As always, everyone had a very good time and especially enjoyed getting together. Sadly though Mikes energy was directed at salvaging his army and not used for his expansive knowledge of ethnic humor.

Again I have added some eye candy of Mikes figures.

Thanks again Mike. Until we game again.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Flames of War game at my house.

Hi to all!
Well we had a fantastic Flames of War game at my house Saturday morning. Five players participated and I hope that all had a great time, I know I did. The game was Russians vs Germans and represented an attack by a German armoured company attempting to take a Russian rail head early in the Barbarossa campaign of 1941.
The Russians were played by Bill (Joseph's distant relative) and Mike (our ethnic adviser).
The Germans were played by Greg (myself) Wendel (a great cavalry tactician) and Jamie (hopefully a new addition to our gaming group).

Jamie had the German left flank, Wendel had the German right flank and I managed the center.The Germans were to have the first move and fire and in taking advantage of this, they managed to take out almost every Russian heavy (KV-1's and KV-2's) and medium (T-34's) tank in the game! Those vehicles that were not destroyed were bailed out. What a fantastic opening. Now we thought all we need to do is advance into the rail head (a very built up area with many houses), push out the defending infantry with our armour and win the game.

Well the Russians had other plans. They delayed our right flank advance by the gallant sacrifice of an entire armoured car platoon (about 8 vehicles). Then they delayed our left flanks advance by the sacrifice of an entire light tank platoon (again about 7-8 vehicles). Such bravery. In the mean time those lucky Soviets were able to get some air support and evade our fighter cover. By utilizing their air and artillery(handled very nicely by Mike), the Russians were able to take out most of our anti tank guns and delay our Panzer Grenadiers moving in to the rail head from our right center.

Now time was running out for the Germans as they had to take the rail head before more of those damn Russians arrived to stop them. It was also getting late in our day and some of the players were forced to withdraw to fulfill other commitments. This left Bill and I to finish up the game. Left without the best generals on my side, I was able to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory!!! We had to call the game a Russian victory as the Germans could not take their objective within the prescribed number of turns. Good work to the Russians!

So now in my recent gaming, I am 0 for 4. This is a dismal record for me. And I will be up nights trying to devise a way to win the next battle I will face. This looks to be an Aerodrome game at Bill;s house so I will report on that one also.

Below I have added some pictures from out game.
The rail head as seen from the German left flank.
More of the same.
Burning Russian armour on their right flank.
Another shot of the Russian right flank.

A view of most of the table from the Russian right flank.
Part of the rail head with the staunch Russian defenders.

The advance of the German Panzer Grenadiers and Scout platoon.

Another perspective on the rail head.
And now just for some eye candy from Bill's fine collection.

Notice the hand made ammo boxes and shell casings. Just fantastic!!
Take care to all.