Sunday, April 2, 2017

AAR: A Soviet Urrah in Autumn 1944

A Chain of Command Battlereport in 28mm



Introduction

Time for another AAR of Chain of Command gaming, using the rules from Too Fat Lardies. This time we used a setting of late war Eastern Front. With a force of Fallschirmjager falling back from the Soviet advance but yet again putting up a fight, trying to stem the tide. 

We used the Delay Action scenario from the Chain of Command rulebook with a somewhat disorganised defender trying to halt the attacker. To win the Soviet attacker had to try and take and hold (until the end of a Turn) an objective deep in the Germans end of the table.  

It was the first time we used Soviets so we were keen on trying out an iconic (if not maybe not all  historical) all out assault with both tanks and infantry.

Opposing forces

The defending veteran Fallschirmsjager platoon were of elite status.
They were supported by a Sniper team.


The Soviet tankrider platoon were regulars. As attackers, and as the Fallschirmsjager were of higher rating, the Soviets had plenty of support: a pre-game barrage and not only one but two T34/85 tanks.

Table and deployment

We played down the length of a 6x4' table. After the patrol phase the Soviets had three Jump off points (marked in red) spread across the table, one of which was a bit forward on the left flank.

The German’s two Jump off points (marked in blue) were in good defensive positions on each side of the central road while the objective (marked in white) was in a deep central position. 

A 6x4' table.


The Game

True to form the Soviet heavy artillery opened up before the attack. With the pre-game barrage rolling and disrupting the Germans their ability to deploy efficiently was hampered. 

In cover of the heavy barrage the Soviet commander was eager to rush the enemy positions and sent a squad forward from their forward left Jump off point to try and take an enemy Jump off point before the Fallschirmsjager had time to get their heads up.

The Soviets underestimated the elite Fallschirmsjager's ability however, and despite the barrage the Germans apperared in their positions and opened fire on the Soviets in the open. In a hail of bullets the Soviets were cut down almost to a man and the remaining men were shocked.

Having endured the barrage the Fallschirmsjager are more
than ready as the Soviets try to rush across the open.
Their assault blunted the Soviet had to try a better way to attack and deployed a squad in cover behind a log house by the road and later first one and then the other T34/85 tank rolled on to the scene.

With Germans on the table the tanks kept their distance and shelled the German positions in the forrest and by the hamlet. Before casualties mounted the Germans withdrew out of sight from the tanks. 

The Soviet tanks enter the field.
Things started to look better for the Soviets as their tanks slowly advanced to find angles on the hidden Germans forcing the latter even further back. The Soviet infantry still hesitated to rush the open ground though as a German sniper team had taken position on the battlefield. As the sniper’s position on the roof of one of the loghouses in the hamlet was yet to be discovered by the Soviets the sniper was safe from the tanks’ weapons.

The FJ Sniper team in place to harras the Soviets
as the latter try to advance.
With the men in position and their Platoon leader close by to direct the attack the Soviets siezed the initiative (getting a double phase) and launched their attack on the hamlet. One of the T34s broke through the hedge and two SMG armed tankrider groups followed.

The Soviet lauch yet another attack acoss the fields.



Almost there now! One last push.

The Soviet commander in cover as the lead elements
of the attack are at the farm. Almost...
As the Soviet infantry ran across the open ground they took shock from the sniper firing at them. Also, a panzerschreck fired from the hamlet but its missile bounced off the front of the Soviet tank. The attack lost some momentum but was still on. With the lead group closing in on the hamlet the third fallschirmsjager squad appeared and opened fire at close range on the Soviets. The lead tankrider group took casualties aswell as shock, fell back and as the turn ended (due to the use of a German Chain of commande die) they fled the battlefield. 

The Germans were ready and appeared just in front of the lead Soviet group
guns blazing. The Soviets broke and fell back across the field.  
With their force morale now running low the Soviet commander tried one last gamble and ordered the two T34s forward at full speed towards the objective. At the same time the remaining Soviet infantry squad pushed on up the hill to the log buildings. With two fallschirmsjager units in the hamlet the remaining Soviet infantry stayed out of sight - with handgrenades being threwn over the roof tops from both sides instead.

The two Soviet tanks closed on the objective. As one of them had to pass by the forrest the Germans got their panzerfausts ready. The first shot from close range againt the side armour of the T34 stopped the tank and the next ’faust caused it to explode.

"Wait. Wait. Now, fire!" The FJ are ready with panzersfausts as the Soviet tank thunder past...
...with devastating results.
The second T34 tank ran the gauntlet as the German infantry tried get good panzerfaust shots off. With the Soviet tank almost at the objective (lacking 1” of movement and with a Chain of command die waiting to end the turn…) another panzerfaust hit home blewing up the last of the tanks and thereby ending any hopes for the Soviets to achieve their objective. The Germans had won.

The two Soviet tanks in flames, one of them oh so close to
the objective, with the Germans in contol of the field.

Conclusion

Another great game of Chain of Command!

We are still developing our Chain of Command skills and this time we also tried out the Soviets for the first time. Not only that but this was also the first time we fielded an elite platoon (rolling an extra command die per phase). We discussed before the game that it would be fun to have the Soviet try to do the stereotyphical all out attack. As the Soviets learned the hard way elite troops like the Fallschirmsjager are quite potent and can’t be expected to cover in their positions from a barrage, not even the Soviet ”Wrath of the Gods” barrage could keep them down. So, in retrospect the initial attack under cover of the barrage was too much of a gamble and the Soviets struggled during the rest of game because of it. Sending a pair of scouts to try and catch the Jump off point would have been wiser. One thing that we really enjoy is that Chain of Command really gives a great feel of platoon combat of World War 2 and punishes bad tactics.

It proved quite a challenge for the Soviets to reach the objective. After the Germans withdrew behind the hamlet and the forrest the Soviet tanks would have to come up close to target them, thereby exposing them to the many panzerfausts that the fallschirmsjager possess. The Soviets - being quite resilient - tried a second desperate infantry assault instead but got beaten back by all those machine guns.

The elite status – and their six command dice – makes the fallschirmsjager a tough nut to crack. The Soviet’s lack of a second senior officer (like an adjutant) also made many Soviet rolls useless making the difference in actions even more accentuated. Granted, the Soviet had ALOT of support but failed to use it to its full advantage.

Despite this it was very close in the end with the Soviets throwing their mid game caution to the wind and driving full speed with the two tanks for the objective. Had the Soviets rolled 1” longer for movement the last tank would have reached the objective. With a full Chain of command dice ready and waiting they could have ended the turn, therby winning the game. But it was not to be. A great game none the less!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

WW2 28mm Soviets in Snowsuits

Time for some winter themed forces for WW2, beginning with a group of Soviets in snowsuits.


They are 28mm Soviet Veteran Squad in Snowsuits from Warlord Games. Really nice miniatures. They hardly require any preparation and also got painted pretty quick as they are covered by their snowsuits.

The snowsuits are in a dirty and damp "white" that gives really strong flashbacks to doing national service in the Swedish armed forces... Those suits were simply never in a clean white. 😀

The snowsuits are painted using the following method.
1. Black undercoat.
2. Vallejo deck tan.
3. Army Painter soft tone ink.
4. Vallejo deck tan. First a thinner layer then a thicker one. 
5. Mix in some Vallejo ivory in the deck tan for highlights. 
6. Vallejo ivory on it's own.







Sunday, March 5, 2017

AAR: Attack on the House of Thott - a 15th century skirmish

A battle report using the Lion Rampant ruleset depicting a 15th century raid on a Lord's house


Introduction

We finally found the time for another AAR. This time its from our late medieval Swedish civil war campaign. 

The scene is late 15th century Sweden that suffered from civil war
as different families and factions struggled for power. Later historians could describe it as the beginning of the end of a rather long, although not peaceful, Nordic union (”Kalmarunionen”, 1397-1523) - with Sweden in the end breaking away from Danish influence.

In our story the Rebels have gained the upper hand. Rebel spies revealed that some factions of the Thott family - until then supporters of the Rebel cause - negotiated with the Unionists. Through a betrayal and a surprise attack the Rebel forces managed to take a Thott castle by storm (see how that happened in the AAR HERE). Not all Unionists were caught or killed however. A sly Unionist leader, the hated local Sheriff, slipped away into the swamp surrounding the castle and were nowhere to be found. 

With so many of the Thott castle retinue killed the Rebels now had to act swiftly before news of the attack on the Thott castle spread far and wide. Other members of the Thott family would no doubt turn against the Rebels hearing the news. The Rebels therefor planned a preemptive strike and force marched to another stronghold of the Thott family, arriving before the latter could gather all its forces.

The game was played using Dan Mersey's Lion Rampant (published by Osprey) with 28mm miniatures from Perry Miniatures on a 6x4' table. We played the Bloodbath scenario. We used a modification (also found in Pikeman's Lament) with +1 on activation rolls if within 12" of the commander.
 
The opposing forces

The Unionist Retinue (Thott family)

Unionist Unit 1
1 Lord Thott
5 Foot Men at Arms 

Unionist Unit 2
12 Thott Soldiers (i e Foot Yeomen - with Mixed Weapons)

Unionist Unit 3
12 Thott Soldiers (i e Foot Yeomen - with Mixed Weapons)

Unionist Unit 4
12 Peasant Allmoge Warriors (i e Foot Yeomen)

Unionist Unit 5
6 Peasant Allmoge Skirmishers (i e Bidowers)

The Unionist defenders - the Thott family retinue
The Rebel Retinue

Rebel Unit 1 
1 Lord Natt och Dag
5 Foot Men at Arms

Rebel Unit 2
6 Mounted Men at Arms 

Rebel Unit 3
12 Peasant Allmoge Soldiers (i e Foot Yeomen)

Rebel Unit 4
12 Lübeck Mercenary Pikemen (i e Foot Serjeants)

Rebel Unit 5
6 Peasant Allmoge Skirmishers (i e Bidowers)

The Rebel attackers.
The Table

A 6x4' table.
The Game

The rebels arrived at the Thott family estate.

Having received word of the advancing rebels from a loyal peasant boy the Lord Thott hastily gathered his men to defend his homestead. The Rebels advanced across the fields and their cavalry followed the road towards the Thott estate.

The Rebel infantry advance under the Sture family banner...
...with heavy cavalry of the Sture family leading the way, next to the Rebel Lord's foot
men-at-arms carrying the Natt och Dag banner and some mercenary Lübeck pikemen.
The Unionist Lord gather his men, in red and yellow livery,
as the Rebels approaches on the far side of the hill.
A small group of Unionist crossbow skirmishers took a stand on the road opposite the advancing enemy. At the same time a larger group of missile armed Thott soldiers took position behind a fence while even more of the Unionist men moved up amongst the buildings.

A group of Unionist crossbowmen move up the road and fire on the approaching Rebels.
The impatient men-at-arm Rebel cavalry rode at full speed towards the Unionist. They smashed through the Unionst skirmishers on the road but another Unionist group of soldiers also fired their missile weapons against the Rebels as they thundered past. Two riders fell off their mounts dead.

The Rebel cavalry is hit by bolts and bullets from
the flank as they charge down the road...
...leaving their infantry support far behind.
"... into the valley of death rode the six ...
... 'cannon' to the left of them ..."
The Rebel cavalry's attempt to attack before the Unionists could form their lines properly was in vain. The Lord Thott formed his peasant allmoge soldiers in a close formation while he personally anchored the line with his foot men-at-arms.

Beset on all sides and faced with a target rich environment the Rebel men-at-arm cavalry could only follow their attack through. Seeing the Unionist Lord, Lord Thott, in his red and yellow quartered livery with his personal retinue straight ahead they made their choice and smashed into the foot men-at-arms and their lord. A fierce fight erupted with heavily armed men on both sides. The Thott Lord, fighting for his home, fought bravely and the Rebel cavalry were driven back up the road with further casualties.

The Rebel cavalry's aggressive push forward is met by a well organized defence.
The Rebel infantry continue their advance and can only look on...
...as their aggressive cavalry already get stuck in!
With men lost and with their high spirits broken the Rebel cavalry retreats.
At the other side of the main building the Rebel infantry advanced across the fields. The Rebel skirmishers were driven back, however, as they came under fire from a group of Unionist soldiers. More Rebels advanced on their position and as the latter attacked intense hand to hand combat took place in the passage between the main stone building and fenced plowed field. Men fell on both sides but eventually the Unionist had to retreat.

The Rebel skirmishers are driven back...
...by the Unionists by the plowed field. But more Rebels close in...

...and attack...
...making the Unionists retreat.
By the road the Rebel infantry, the second wave of the attack, made contact. The Rebel Lord and his foot men-at-arms attacked the Peasant Allmoge closed line. The non professional Allmoge Peasants could not hold against the Lord and his heavily armed retinue and many peasants fell and the rest broke. At the same time the Lübeck mercenary pikemen also advanced and attacked a group of Unionist soldiers behind a fence by the road. The pikemen were not as successful as their lord and could not shift the Unionist soldiers from behind the fence and the pikemen had to regroup in the road, leaving their casualties behind.

Having broken the Peasant Allmoge line the Rebel Lord found himself not far from a very angry Thott Lord and his retinue. The Thott Lord led his men into a counter attack up the road. The two heavily armed retinues clashed with the Thott retinue gaining the upper hand and pushing the surviving Rebels back.

The Rebel Lord's retinue attack the peasant allmoge line...

...breaking them, as the Lübeck pikemen follow...
...and attack the Unionist soldiers at the fence.
The heavyweight championship. The Thott Lord attack and take
on his Rebel counterpart, together with their retinues.

On the other side of the stone house the formerly broken Unionist soldiers rallied and went on the offense again. Attacking with vigour the Unionist this time broke the Rebels, driving them from the field of battle. However, during the close combat the Rebel skirmishers in the plowed field closed the distance. As their Rebel friends were driven off the skirmishers fired into the victorious Unionists at close range. The flanking fire took the Unionist by surprise and they broke and run in disorder, leaving the Rebel skirmishers alone by the main building.

The Rebels - with the lily pad Sture family banner -
turn and flee as the Unionist attack again.
The Unionist victory is short lived as they break under
fire from the Rebel skirmishers in the plowed field.
Back by the road the Thott Lord and his retinue continued their furious fighting, taking on yet another adversary. Although heavily outnumbered they attacked the Lübeck mercenary pikemen. But the Thott Lord's momentum finally was lost. His now depleted and bloodied retinue had beaten back the initial Rebel heavy cavalry charge. Then he had led his men against the Rebel Lord's retinue and won, driving them back. Now again faced with stiff opposition in the shape of the professional pikemen of Lübeck it was one fight too many. The last of his men fell dead to the ground and at he risk of being completely surrounded he had to fall back towards his home, the stone house. Fate would have it that as he was only a few steps away from the door and some safety a group or Rebel skirmishers appeared at the far corner. The Thott Lord died on the steps of his home, pierced by both bullets and crossbow bolts that found ways though his plate armour. With the Thott Lord dead and his men all but broken the battle was over.

The Rebels had won.

As the Rebel Lord looks on the Thott Lord attack the Lübeck pikemen...
...but his outnumbered retinue is killed.
As the Unionist Thott Lord retreats he runs into
the bullets and crossbow bolts of Rebel skirmishers.
The Thott Lord lies dead only a few steps from his home.
Conclusion

It was a very intense game that swung back and forth. As the initial Rebel attack was uncoordinated and their heavy cavalry attack failed it seemed as if the Unionists would win the day. They had a good defensive position in the yard and with the flanking group of soldiers behind the fence. But as fate would have it the Unionist Lord, Lord Thott, finally took on one enemy too many as his retinue was worn down. Also, with his men retreating on the other side of the main building the Rebel skirmishers could sneak up around the corner to finish the job.

The Rebels have been successful in our last few games and the Thott family has taken a real beating. We will see what lies ahead and if the Unionists can find the momentum and a way to strike back.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

It's Blood Bowl, baby!

The Badland Bashers - an Orc Team for Blood Bowl

The Badland Bashers
First row: Blitzers
Second row: Black Orcs
Third row: Linemen
Fourth row: Troll, Goblin and Throwers

Back in 1994 Games Workshop released the 3rd edition of its fantasy football boardgame; Blood Bowl. Simply put its a boardgame of American Football in a Warhammer Fantasy setting. We dived right in and enjoyed it immensely. We had a league running literally for years.

And now its back in its 4th edition! Happy days. Its simply a fun, great game. It plays fast but demands tactical thinking and all doesn't always go to plan. With the new edition and new miniatures it felt like the perfect opportunity to start playing it again. What's even better is that friends that didn't continue with miniature gaming through all these years are now back painting their first miniatures in 20 or so years.

So this team is The Badland Bashers. An Orc team with the full potential line up of sixteen players. Its mainly build from the starter box. The now released plastic twelve man teams from Games Workshop are made up of two identical six man sprues. So if not modified you will end up with doubbles of each miniatue. Not a big problem really - as they are really nice miniatures - but sometimes you might want more variety. Also, wanting four Blitzers and four Black Orcs on the team demanded some additions and adjustments.

The Black Orcs were mainly made out of what is nowadays called Orc 'Ardboys bodies using Space Ork heads. The Blitzers are identified through their horned and covered heads, also made from Orc 'Ardboy bits. These additions freed some bits to be used elsewhere on the team (for instance one of the Throwers is using what is supposed to be a Blitzer head). With some further cutting and repositioning identical doubles on the team were avoided.

WIP picture of the whole team, clearly
showing the non Starter Box bits in grey plastic.

Some of the Black Orcs.
Black Orcs made from 'Ardboy bodies and Ork heads,
with a few bits from the Starter box thrown in.

Blitzer, Thrower and Blizter.

 

Note that the Blitzer to the left is made from a Thrower body.
And that the Blitzer to the right is using a Thrower left arm.



Lineman, Thrower and Blitzer.



Note that the Thrower in the middle is made froma Lineman body,
with a Starter Box Blitzer head and a Thrower arm.
A troll from Black Scorpion Miniatures and a slightly
modified Goblin from Games Workshop's 40k range.