Monday, 12 December 2016

Team Yankee - a 2 move game!


Team Yankee is deservedly getting a name as a fast, furious and bloody game - but I was still amazed to finish a game in 2 moves!


I'm close to finishing my Team Yankee West German army, and decided the time had come to pitch table ready elements of the 5th Panzer Divison's 6th Panzer Brigade into combat! 

The 5th Panzer Division formed part of NATO's Central Army Group West German III Corps, headquartered in Diez in Southern Germany. As such it was a prime candidate to backstop the US V Corps in the Fulda gap sector...

Accordingly, the table was laid out to represent the east-west stretch of Autobahn on the outskirts of Butzback, towards which the Soviet 8th Guards Army was rampaging...


The lead 6th Panzer Brigade's Battlegroup was made up of 113 points: two Leopard 2 platoons, a PanzerGrenadier platoon, an M109G battery, a flight of 4 PAHs and a Roland SAM battery.



I'm particularly impressed with the PAH models - they are very hand compared to the huge HIND models, but I was hoping they'd pack just as much of a punch!



The ROLAND SAMs were accompanied by 2 Fliegerfaust teams armed with REDEYE MAPAD SAMs.



The combat team would be attempting to slow down the lead elements of that advancing 79th Guards Tank Division, 163 points worth, centered around three 7 strong tank platoons.


Having broken through and clear of the intial Fulda defences, the 79th Guards Tanks were enjoying strong Frontal Aviation support - a flight of 4 FROGFOOT FGA, and 6 HINDs.


The Guards were still operating in pretty hilly and wooded country densely populated particularly around the approaches to the Butzback connurbation.
 

However there were at least 3 clear lines of approach - the autobahn itself was nice and clear, if a little obvious...


A northerly route to the industrial zone offered good covered good covered lines of approach along the rail line or along a secondary road...


Whilst an approach to the more picturesque southern outskirts also offered some cover, albeit the stream required a cross check.


The 6th Panzer's forward Battlegroup opted to centre its defence around the autobahn, relying on the mobility of its Leopards and Marders to redeploy if necessary. The infantry platoon was debussed with its 2 MILAN firing posts under cover in the woods, with a good clear field of fire out to the clear areas in the table centre. A Leopard platoon was deployed to each side of them, so that at least 8 shots could be sent down any part of the central area...


The artillery battery was deployed in the southern outskirts of the town, so that if any direct firing was involved, in extremis, they might at least enjoy some cover.


The Soviets chose the southern approach, their forward deployment eased by the use of the Recce company's Spearhead move...


To attempt to whittle down the Leopard platoon facing this onslaught, the Soviets rather boldly called in an airstrike from the FROGFOOT flight...




Events proved its wasn't so much bold as foolish, as the ROLANDs and REDEYEs shot down the entire flight before they had a chance to launch...


However, a SPANDREL ATGW volley fired from the infantry company's BMPs, set up in the woods crowning the southern ridge managed to take out a Leopard. The remaining 2 MBTs of the platoon promptly turned tail and 'retired'...


The West Germans formation commander responded to this disaster by drawing on his battlegroup's reknowned mobility...


The left flanking Leopard platoon sped forward around and to the right to form the right angle of an 'L' kill sack, in conjuction with the MILANs, to envelop the Soviet column...


Unfortunately in the process of orchestrating that manoeuver the formation commander was distracted from conning his driver, with embarrassing results...


However the initiative was maintained with the timely intervention of the gallant Heeresflieger who took advantage of the preoccupation of the Soviet air defenders with actually getting into range without too many of them bogging down...


to launch a pretty successful missile strike on the advancing T-72s...


Two Soviet Tank companies remained, however, and continued to close on the objective, managing to knock out a Leopard 2 at long range..


However the return volley of 120mm sabot rounds was devastating...


And removed the survivors of another Soviet tank company off the table...


With the PAH helos circling for yet another strike...


The Soviet formation commander decided to pull in his horns and find an easier route around, rather than through, the doughty defenders of Butzbach...



Friday, 28 October 2016

BBDBA Agincourt

 

After Sunday's great game using Hail Caesar rules blogged previously, I was able to continue the Agincourt theme this Thursday, 601 years and 4 days after that epic battle...


This time Peter organised the game, using BBDBA rules. I've played these a few times as followers of my blog will know, and flow so naturally that I don't even own a copy of the rules but am able to keep up, plus ou moins...



The other major difference to Sunday was that we would be using 15mm figures, from a variety of collections and manufacturers - I heard Peter Pig mentioned, as well as Essex...


The English Goddams - L-R Daniel, who first game with BBDBA this was, but again picked things up quick smart, commanding the Vanguard, Caesar as Henry V with the main Battle, and David, commanding the rearguard.



The equipe Francais above on the left, Geoff nearest the camera took the right wing of the first Battle and after battle, whilst Alan in the natty cardigan took the left wing. When not snapping photos I was sitting betwixt the twain with the centre main and after guard. An odd command arrangement, but it seemed to work - at least better than the nonexistent French arrangements on the actual day! Peter is sitting judicially at the head of the table as befits the game organiser!


Any scenario of what, with hindsight, is a one sided historical battle has to be a balancing act between the historical setting, and a playable game.


Whereas on Sunday I inflicted a historical setting on the French players, which they nonetheless turned into an exciting game, Peter emphasised balance and playability in his scenario...


Hence no forces were allowed into the woods on either side, and the slowing and disordering effects of the mud only came into force 8 cm, 2 basewidths, in front of the English, accentuated somewhat for the last 4 cm, or basewidth, before contact.


A few French units were rated as excellent troops, and most of the English were too - as a DBA novice I let the precise detail escape me, but Alan wanted to know more, and asked about each specific unit, until it turned out all the English troops were! Mon Dieu! BTW, if you want to read a DBA compatible account of this game, do check out Alan's terrific blog post here: The Stronghold Rebuilt - Agincourt


Nothing daunted, Monsiegneur de Geoffrois gallantly bashed on over on the right wing - rather successfully...



Alain Le Sire de Staines similarly led off on the gauche and I sort of milled around in the centre - utterly historically, there was insufficient room to deploy properly, so I had to split my commands up to be able to both get to grips with the English nether regions, and prevent both my wingmen from being flanked...


However it was impossible to keep up with Geoff, who was taking out Archers like there was no tomorrow, despite a series of torrid command rolls - he certainly earned man of the match for this one!


I had to leave early so Peter took over my command, but it was pretty much jeu fini with Geoff's men at arms careering all round the English flank...


A thrilling and enjoying game, which go to show that a historical game inspired by an iconic battle need not be predictable - Thanks Peter, more BBDBA soon si il vout plait!

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Agincourt 601 with Hail Caesar!


On this St Crispin's day, the 601st Anniversary of the epic battle of Agincourt, it is meet and fitting indeed that I chronicle an account of our very own, petty battle of Agincourt...


It was a small band that met to mark the occasion, but a happy one...


Left to right: Ian, Matt, Vic, Phillip and Mark



With a battle like Agincourt, and with a historical scenario, I knew it would be hard to find players to be French!



Whilst the odds would be on the French side, it would be a challenging task to fight through the mud, the arrows, the stakes, to even come to grips with the English!


To their credit, Mark and Ian volunteered for the job without being asked, and, as host, I felt I had to do the same! Noblesse Oblige!



Mark as the Count of Vendome took command of the French Cavalry - all Mounted Household Men at Arms, SR 9. Ian as the Constable of France took the 1st Battle - all Household Men at arms, SR 9. I took the 2nd Battle - Men at Arms toute simple, with a SR of 7 as the hapless Duc of Bar.



That left Vic and Phil to stand by King Harry! Vic as the Duke of York led the Vanguard on the right wing, SR8, with 2 MAA and 10 English Longbowmen. 



Phillip, our medieval expert, took the Main Battle as Sir Thomas Erpingham with SR 9, with 2 Household MAA, 2 MAA toute simple, and 6 Welch Longbowmen; and the Rearguard as Lord Camoys, SR 8, who had 2 MAA and 10 English Longbowmen. Henry V had a SR of 10 as befits that great warrior lord!


To add a bit of tension to the game, it started at the exact point the English arrived at their second position nearer the French, to attempt to taunt them into attacking. They would have to pass a command check for each unit to get their stakes malleted back in...


The Rearguard, over on the English left - failed the command check - leaving them vulnerable if the French Cavalry got a triple move...


Which they didn't - leaving them stranded out in the mud amidst a hail of arrows! For the first 3 moves, the effect of the mud was just to reduce movement by a third. For the next 3 it would reduce movement to half, and then for the last 3 moves it would also disorder any charging troops.


Lord Camoys lost no time in getting his men behind stakes, but Mark, with his blood up, charged in anyway!


And managed to charge home! After inflicting a few paltry casualties, he was beaten off again - but it showed what might be achieved given sufficient noble courage and mien...


So he went in again, this time against the Sir Thomas Erpingham's Main Battle...


But Sir Thomas skilfully sealed off the breach and the gallant chevaliers were all cut down...


By this time Ian's 1st Battle had come up, and thanks to the back and forth antics of the cavalry, could only really commit in the flanks, where he started clearing away the English archers..


With more room to manouever without getting stuck by arrows from 3 sides, Mark lined up for a last heave, as movement on the boggy, churned up, corpse bestrewn ground was getting harder and harder...


And striving mightly, broke through that dread English line in two places!


But, alack, support came in far too slowly as men, brave but not superhuman, floundered in the mud..


Giving the English ample time to seal off all incursions...


So that the setting sun forsook the field of honour, sick at the sight of the flower of French nobility bleeding into the cold wet mud...


Thanks to Matt, Kym and Anthony at the Hall of Heroes for setting us up and looking after us so well, and to Gary for the loan of his lovely collection.