Sunday, 27 January 2013

Hail Caesar, Punic Wars

I know the Punic War AAR's seem to be popping up every day, I thought I would post my recent game playing Hail Caesar. This is only my third game of HC but I am liking the game. We played a fairly large game with 28 units for the Romans at 611 pts and 26 for the Carthaginians at 560 pts.

My only concern is that battle can sometimes be very decisive, this can be a good thing because large games can be resolved fairly quickly which I like. This game was played for 2.5 hrs and would've been resolved in 3 hrs if my opponent didn't have to leave early. Yet on a few occasions one unit was wiped out in one turn. I think I am going to use large units more often so that some units have longer staying power. The description of the battle is in the picture captions:

Carthaginian OOB

Roman OOB

Romans Legions on the right and the Carthaginians on the left.

The Gauls on the Carthaginian right wing

The Carthaginian left wing with Libyan and Spanish infantry along the Cavalry

Two Roman Legions along with the auxilliaries.

On the Roman right the Latin cavalry gets peppered by the Numidian javelins.

One of the Roman legions blunders and runs into the auxilliaries, while the Roman legion on the right advances towards the Spanish and Libyan infantry.

Roman legion faces off against Punic cavalry.

On the Roman left wing the Auxilliary cavalry faces off against the Gaul and Spanish cavalry of the Carthaginians.

The Carthaginian Gauls advance towards the Roman Auxilliaries on the Roman left wing.

Romans clash with the Spanish infantry in the middle.

The last turn of the game because my opponent had to leave early. The Roman legion was on the verge of breaking yet the Spanish had been pushed back significantly so another round or two and the game could've gone either way. We called it a draw but I think the Carthaginians had the edge.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

1944 Falaise Gap - FoBASM

It's been a while since I have posted, I have been studying part-time while working full-time so blogging time has been short.

I am playing a house ruled version of FoW that I am calling Flames of Bolt Action Shot Mum (FoBASM). The basic premise is that I like playing games that have reinforced companies or several companies, let's say about the forces a battalion commander would commit to a battle. I think FoW has good core mechanics that are simple, streamlined and fun. But I don't like the lack of battlefield friction and all the wonkiness with special rules and their army lists. I really like the blinds system and the command and control system of IABSM, and the ability in Bolt Action to decide which platoon to activate with the colored dice. So I have taken what I like from the three systems and merged them into a game that I think works quite well for what I want.

This scenario is loosely based on a Canadian armored regiment with supporting infantry, and artillery assets assaulting a set of towns in an attempt to close the Falaise Gap from the North. The Germans had an understrength company of SS Hitler Youth supported by platoon of Panthers trying to hold back the tide of the Canadian advance.

The Canadians advanced along the narrow edge from the West, they had to capture at least one of the first hamlets, either the Northern or Southern one and continue to capture the crossroads at the town with the Church at the far end of the table.

Miniatures are 15mm.

The battle from the Canadian perspective, the Canadians need to capture the crossroads on the far end of the table

The Germans deploy to defend the first two hamlets.

Canadian armor advances through wheatfields towards the Northern hamlet

Churchills advance towards the Southern hamlet

The Germans move up their Panther reserves towards the Northern hamlet to counter the Canadian Shermans.

Canadian rifles stalking their way through the wheat fields ready to assault the Northern hamlet.

Either the dug in SS were surprised or the Canadians very lucky as they assault and capture the Northern hamlet. The Canadians lost most of their platoon but captured their first objective.

The Canadians now shift the axis of their attack towards the Southern hamlet.

The German platoon defending the Southern hamlet opens up on the Canadian rifle platoon trying to replicate the success in the North.

The Canadian Shermans pour fire into the German defenders but cause no casualties against the dug in veterans. 

Unlike the first assault, the Canadian rifles attacking the Southern hamlet get mowed down by MG fire.

Canadians moving through the center and the Northern hamlet take out a Pak 40 one the hill and continue to advance.

The Panthers finally get into action and move around the Canadian flank. The Canadians call in an artillery strike and manage to knock out one Panther.

The remaining two Panthers tear apart two platoons of Shermans from the flank. Things aren't looking good for the Canadians.

In the final turn of the game, the Churchills and the last platoon of Shermans assault and breakthrough the Southern hamlet. The Panthers are once again caught by artillery and some unlucky rolls knocks out them both out. With the road to the crossroads clear, and their Panthers knocked out, the Germans have little left to fight with and we call the game for the Canadians. Albeit it was mostly a Pyrrhic victory as the Canadians lost their HQ almost all of their Shermans, and two platoons worth of infantry.

Friday, 11 May 2012

The Solomons Campaign: Turn 4 & 5 AAR - Taking Stock

Game and scale: We are using General Quarters 3 to play the tactical battles, and The Solomons Campaign from the same publisher (ODGW) for the campaign. All ships are 1/6000 Figurehead.
What’s Happened So Far: Turn 3 was the turning point in the campaign, the IJA successfully assaulted and took Henderson Airfield and now they held the initiative.
November 1942
Weather forecast: Overcast (add one to the weather roll)
Turn 4: In this turn his turn the IJA player was pre-occupied with supplying the newly taken airfield and shoring up its position. The IJA’s carrier force had been devastated in the previous months and they only had escort carriers available, therefore as the IJA player I had to leave my carriers at port in hopes that I would get a fleet carrier back in the next turn.  Since my main goal was supply of my island I decided to also send out a bombardment force to attract his attention away from my supply mission and to cause some havoc amongst the retreating Marines on the island.
The USN player predictably sortied his superior carrier force; by luck they were unable to locate my bombardment mission. Since they had just lost Henderson airfield the US player didn’t have enough initiative to attempt a counterattack and so spent his turn also resupplying the Marines on the island.
Turn 4 was pretty quiet as both sides shored up their positions and adjusted to the new reality. Only two turns were left in the campaign.

December 1942
Weather Forecast: Severe weather (add five to the weather roll)
Turn 5: After a rather timid Turn 4, both sides went back to work in their desperate fight over Henderson Airfield. The IJA got their fleet carrier Zuikaku back into action and so were able to sortie their carrier fleet while the USN tried to press home its advantage in carriers. This turned out rather disastrously for one side. On the surface both sides went to work to shore up and supply their land units on Guadalcanal. For my part I knew that in order for the Marines to assault Henderson they would need to be supplied so I launched a kamikaze style patrol mission with my surface ships in order to disrupt his offloading operations.

Carrier Engagement: In this carrier exchange, the IJA got the strike advantage first and was able to land a crushing blow to the US carrier groups, two of the US carriers were disabled and had to retreat prior to being able to launch a counterattack.
IJN carrier fleet ready to launch

The surprise achieved by the Japanese planes allows them to land devastating blows to the US carriers

Japanese torpedo planes perform anvil attack on US carrier

Rabaul Patrol vs USN Supply Mission: The USN sent a heavy escort force to accompany and protect their supply mission, the IJN sent just about everything they had in Rabaul to try and intercept this supply mission. While the IJN were outnumbered and outgunned their goal was to prevent the transports from unloading. They were ultimately successful in this goal, although they lost almost their entire patrol formation, the emperor will honour them in the afterlife.
Weather called for squalls and high winds making targeting and visibilty a challenge

A US task force of a battleship escorted by cruisers emerges from a squall and targets the approaching Japanese at full range.

The Japanese approach in a double line, the southern cruiser squadron remains hidden by the destroyer screen which takes the brunt of the initial salvos.

The Japanese player makes an aggressive move towards the US transports, having to fight through two heavy US squadrons and a destroyer squadron whom manage to cross their T. The IJN DD screen is virtually wiped

The IJN cruiser squadron sees the transports in the distance but is blocked by US destroyers, on their flank a heavy US squadron of BB's and CA's is bearing down on them. Off to the left of the screen another US heavy squadron fires deadly salvos.

Torpedo ally, as both forces close in they release torpedoes. At this stage the Japanese cruisers have a clear line of site to the transports and manage to land a few salvos, disrupting their supply mission.

The cruiser squadron is a burning heap and in disarray, the DD squadron is wiped out. After suffering heavy fire, point blank torpedoes, they still completed their mission and prevented the USMC from receiving supplies, albiet at a heavy cost.

Conclusion: The interruption of the supply mission ultimately meant that the US Marines couldn’t assault Henderson, with only one more turn left this means the USMC will have on opportunity left to take back the airfield. I don’t have enough ships left in Rabaul to be able to disrupt all of the USN’s supply missions, therefore this campaign will essentially come down to the final die roll when the USMC manage to assault the airfield. I feel that my strategy so far has paid off, I’ve had to pay a high price in ships to gain and maintain my position, but ultimately I am poised to win the campaign.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Roman Civil War - Impetus AAR

We played a Roman Civil War game last week, the scenario was a Roman General from the Danube front with German allies marching towards Italy to proclaim himself as Consul. This wasn't based on any specific battle but it's a situation that came up only several hundred times in Rome's history.

Game Details: Impetus rules, 25/28mm miniatures, 400pts per side.

I was the Roman rebel general with the German allies and my opponent was the Roman Consul. My strategy was to use my impetuous Germans on the flank to overwhelm the opposing forces and also my cavalry superiority to outwork his flanks. My opponent formed into a very condensed mass of infantry with his flanks protected by natural obstacles which should've played into my strategy.

I made a critical mistake in my set up, for some reason I thought my German infantry was FL, whereas after putting them in difficult ground I looked down at my list and realized they were actually FP, this resulted in the two units to attack piecemeal. I also risked my German cavalry in a straight forward charge at his auxillaries, gambling that they could be softened up before my strong German infantry could charge home. This is because there is a special rule where Roman auxillaries cancel the impetuous bonus of warbands. I'm not sure how I feel about the historical accuracy of that rule, but it does make auxillaries very useful and gives the Romans an important chance against those strong large units of warbands. Anyway, my gamble didn't pay off and my German flank was wiped out.

On the other flank, however, my Roman legions with the help of some light cavalry smashed the opposing legions. This caused the battle to essentially pivot and I sent in my general's unit to restore the situation on my left flank. Each side was pretty much on the verge of breaking, both having lost their smaller command, when my general was captured in battle. Once my troops saw their commander being captured they didn't see the point in fighting on and laid down their arms in hopes of getting amnesty. My general's head was later unceremoniously chopped off and order was restored to the Empire.

Thanks to the following two blogs for lending me their photos:

Starting formations with my rebels on the right side of the pic

My right flank
My left flank

My opponent's condensed formaton

Another view of my opponents formation

My Romans advancing

My German cavalry charging forward

My legions advance on my right flank as the Germans attack is broken up due to terrain.

Second last turn of the game, my legions on the right break through as my general shifts to plug the hole on the left. He was captured by the elite veterans of the enemy which prompted the route of my forces.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Alexander the Not-So Great

Impetus Alexander Campaign Turn 1 & 2: Battle of the Granicus River

This is the first battle of the Alexander campaign in Extra Impetus 4. One of my new years resolutions has been to play more campaigns this year and the Alexander campaign is the second one I started. It's also the first one I completed because the campaign is basically a series of linked battles recreating Alexander's famous battles, and it goes on until Alexander loses. As it turns out I lost the first battle so voila, a successful campaign done and complete in one night.

So this battle has already been blogged about and detailed by my opponent on his blog I wanted to add a few more pics and since my blog is primarily dedicated to AAR's I wanted to document my Alexander campaign.

My colleague already described the battle in detail so I won't rehash everything that happened other than to say I tried to replicate Alexander's actual tactics from the battle, I got unlucky and while Alexander's unit passed their rally test and was able to take a double move forward, the rest of the cavalry supporting him failed their tests and lagged behind. This got Alex isolated and although he fought an epic couple of rounds against three enemy units he eventually broke and it was downhill from there. I initially put Alexander on the opposite side of my enemy's strong horse archer force to avoid getting worn down from missile fire.

Kudos to my opponent for using some good tactics to beat Alexander and demonstrating how a Persian army could've theoritically defeated Alexander. I think of Impetus as a game rather than a simulation but I still think that the Persians could have used their light horse similar to how my opponent did, by harrassing the enemy formation and causing his lines to lose their lose cohesion rather than taking Alexander head on.

It's interesting to note that in the actual battle Alexander found himself isolated and even got injured before his support caught up to him. So this is a very realistic alternative outcome, imagine how the history of the world would've been different.

Persian and Macedonian Army Deployment
Macedonian phalanx in the centre

Persians have a strong left wing

Alexander and his cavalry on the Macedonian left advance through the river

The Macedonian right skirmishes with the Persian horse archers

Alexander is across the river but the rest of the Macedonians are slowed down

Alexander's fateful and heroic charge

The phalanx advances under a hail of arrows

Alexander very uncharacteristically running away

The phalanx is finally across the river and engages the Persian centre

Meanwhile the Persian left has totally wiped away the Macedonian right wing. This is about where the game ended with a Macedonian loss.