Tuesday 19 April 2016

Brienne 1814 - A (P)Russian Defeat!

Recently I played another game of Volley and Bayonet, in which I used my Prussians to represent Russian troops. The scenario was one of the ones that can be found here at Keith McNelly's rather excellent site.

The view from behind Prussian line of the initial set up.
We had elected to play the Brienne Scenario (found here), using the shorter table options. It was at this point I made two decisions that would have a dramatic impact on the game; The first being not to worry about having the required skirmisher stands, while the second was to not worry about having the required number of model villages, and to use paper templates instead. This in in a game that required me to hold a village temple (which can only be done with skirmish stands), and a supply line that passed through a village two templates big.

Supply line represented by quickly made wagons, limbers, and other sundry items on 3" long stands.
Rather than making the skirmish stands, or the villages, I concentrated on bodging the wagon train together - which from memory was some 10-12 stands worth - thinking I could make some skirmish stands later, after all they wouldn't be that important?

Note the undefended red roofed BUA at bottom? Holding that was one of my victory conditions....
My real undoing was my poor initial deployment, in which I contrived to leave a battalion of heavy guns on an exposed flank. Why? Because I'm an idiot?.....

Stout Prussian defenders of Brienne le Chateau, force a French brigade back.

But more are coming like an endless blue tide....
 Still despite my mistakes, the Prussians were able to hold on to the town , and give a good account of themselves.
Starting to feel a little outnumbered...
 By eventually the French pushed out the Prussians and seized the town. Any dreams of a counter attack at this stage had been replaced by a desperate need to fall back and hold the supply line.

Finally the French occupy the town....
The French started to push their troops through the light woods, hoping to break my line of communications, and seize victory by looting my baggage train.

A French division on woods edge.

The French advance.
 At this stage I still felt that I could prevent this. I had burnt through my cavalry on my right flank, and had hurt the French cavalry in the process. I still had two un-exhausted infantry divisions, and I was hurting the French. I might just manage to prevent defeat and get a draw.

And meet solid resistance from good Prussian steel!
And for a while, that was possible.....until the mounting casualties resulted in first one, then both divisions becoming exhausted - which meant a clear French victory!

We kept track of casualties. It was a close run thing....
Overall it was a very fun game, which we played over a couple of days at a very relaxed pace. The French fought well, and I think the result would of still been a French victory even if I had the skirmishers holding the villages. It certainly ranks up there as being one of the more fun games I've played.

But a well earned victory for the French!

As a result of seeing some of the notations in the scenario, I decided on getting the second edition of Volley and Bayonet, and the 100 Days expansion "Napoleon Returns". They both arrived last week, and I am starting to gear up all three armies required to play - although based on the games I have been playing lately perhaps painting some 1814 Russians might be in order first?

Still, it is an achievable goal, and working towards it will mean that I will at least finally make some villages!

Wednesday 13 April 2016

Clash in Southern Khand 2012

This is another AAR of a moderns game that has been played recently. This time, rather than use CD 3, I decided to use CD 2 as I felt it that it might offer a better game. Vehicle and equipment statistics were taken from Combined Arms, so some of the stats were very different from some of the stats from more recent products.

The large empty table. Southern Khand will never have a major tourism industry.
The aim of the game was to revisit CD 2 to see if it handled modern games better than CD 3. With this in mind, a scenario was generated that would allow for the testing of different aspects of the rules. 

Khandish Peoples' Liberation Army 
Task Force Kalid
Troop Quality: Experienced
Morale: 12

Headquarters Company with:
         1x Command stand
         1x BTR-80
   2 Motor Rifle Companies, each with:
        1x Command Mot. Rifle stand
        2x Mot. Rifle stands
   Anti Tank company, with:
        2x AT-4 teams
        1x BTR-80
   Anti Aircraft Gun company, with:
        1x Command stand
        1x Gun crew stand
        1x ZU-23-2
       1x  GAZ-66 light truck
  Tank Company, with:
       1x Command T-72
       2x T-72s 

The KPLA has long been a major faction in various conflicts in Khand. The most recent fighting has seen the KPLA grow in both strength and in confidence. The very high morale factor is reflective of the fact that this particular unit has been very successful and is very dedicated to their cause.

Journalists exit the scene after obtaining some battle footage.
 Independent Media Group

A collection of soft vehicles festooned by cameras and journalists. While broadly sympathetic to the Western Alliance, they are motivated by the hunt for fresh news from the front. This is represented by having them move to within 6 inches of any firing and staying there for one turn, in order to capture said news from the front. Once they have captured two such incidents, they will head towards the nearest friendly controlled road exit to leave. They block line of fire for Western Alliance forces, but not for KPLA units.

Western Alliance Armour.

Western Alliance Forces

Combat Team Smith
Troop Quality: Veteran
Morale: 9

Headquarters Company with:
         1x Command stand
         1x M2 Bradley
   Motorised Infantry Company, with:
        1x Command stand
        4x Mot. Infantry stands
    Cavalry Squadron, with:
       1x Command stand
       3x M3 Bradleys
       1x M1A1
    Engineer Troop with:
       1xM1A1 with Mine plough and towed MICLIC
Early in 2012 a token expeditionary force was dispatched to Khand in order to safe guard the interests of the various governments that make up the Western Alliance, and to also attempt to prevent some of the worse excesses of the ongoing conflict in Khand.

KPLA AA Company deploys near an are of light scrub land.
One of the things I remembered very quickly about CD 2 (compared to CD 3) was the sheer amount of firing that can take place during a turn. In CD 3 an element can only fire once per turn, whereas in CD 2, and element can potentially fire up to three times. This gives defending forces a great deal of opportunity to shoot the hell out of an advancing force.

A bad day for Western Alliance armour.
As the Western Alliance forces were doing the advancing.... They attracted a great deal of fire, and the KPLA rolled some great dice.

The engineers are halted, while the Motorised infantry keep moving.
The scenario did given a great deal of advantage to the KPLA with their initial deployment. I had hoped that the better stats of the M1A1s would compensate for that, but looking back on it, probably not as much as I'd planned.

It was a very bad day for Western Alliance armour, but not an entirely good one for the KLPA either.

KLPA AT-4 teams lurk on the edge of the scrub.
However, the main point was to see if CD 2 would be a better basis for Moderns games than CD 3. After playing this game, and ruminating on it for some time, I keep coming back to thinking that an amalgam of the best bits of both would work best.

And an air attack takes out a troop of T-80s.
The major weak point of CD 2 for Moderns is the lack of decent stats for quite a few modern weapon systems. The biggest gap is with aircraft. I have started to stat out some aircraft using data from various CPQs, Combined Arms, Harpoon, and some other GDW games, which I am then comparing to the 'real world' information available on aircraft. This is something I will need to do regardless of what version of CD I use.

The scrub offers some cover to KPLA armour.
CD 3 has much simpler mechanisms for determining quite a number of things (spotting, range bands, etc) but in my opinion handles aircraft badly, and I've never fully liked the reduction of firing phases for a number of reasons. However, the simpler mechanisms do make the game quicker.

Close up of the "I can't believe it's not a GAZ 66" Soviet era toy diecast truck I've been using as the tow vehicle for the ZU-23-2. 
Clearly I still have a great deal of thinking to do as I continue to paint things and be slack about making blog postings!

KPLA recon reports in on the Western Alliance movements.