Sunday, June 17, 2012

Peter Connolly

Seemed to escape most of the wargaming blogger'spere I inhabit, but I noticed form an article in the paper yesterday that Peter Connolly had died last month... 


Most folks (me included) probably know him best from this book - though he wrote and illustrated a number of others - a copy of which graces my shelves even now, and that despite the fact that Greece and Rome are not my core wargaming periods of interest....


I keep it because his drawings were just superb... if you've not seen any by him, seek them out - very much recommended...

Friday, June 15, 2012

"Operation Cornichon" - Game 3 - Turn 4 to End...

...and yet another wet/excessively windy weekend (and no curry was involved...) saw me finish the WWII skirmish game...

This game was a lot of fun - I do like these rules...  simple enough to pick up and play almost immediately, with enough nuances to provide tactical challenges whilst not bogging the game as a whole down...

Turn 4:

..and the French win the initiative and chose to move first this time... for the first time in the game we have some compulsory morale checks to complete first, and as the German commander had hoped, the French section em-placed on the top of the hill failed and broke... the German section facing them passed.

Despite scoring four hits on the French 3rd section the Germans get no casualties! The game ends with one casualty a side... both sides pass their end of turn morale check.

Turn 5:

....yawnnn.....the French win the initiative again...

In their compulsory morale checks, the French 3rd Section break again – one more fail and they will "disperse" (see Post Match Analysis comment..)

I then threw a dice for the reinforcements (a standard  section c/w leader so 8 men in total – leader, 5 poilu's with rifles and LMG crew of 2), and they confirmed that entry would be this turn, at entry point 2, which is the road heading north..

The remaining French (1st) section advances cautiously (slow movement, but gives cover benefits for shooting) so as to bring more of their weapons to bear.. the German 2nd Section (the one in the field nearest the barn) facing them does the same.

On the open flank the German commander moves his other section more quickly towards the hill - the barn blocks line of sight and there is no one else to shot at them.

In the firing phase, both sides again cause one casualty – both sides fail their morale..

Breakpoints: French  (10 left) German (6 left)...

Move 5: Reinforcements have arrived, French 3rd section behind the hill have failed morale for the second time, French 1st Section are behind the barn.
Turn 6:

French win again...! Getting boring..... 

During the compulsory morale checks, as expected, the French 3rd section (the guys who started on the hill) fail their morale check again and are dispersed (and those count towards their break points, so the French now have 4 left before BP). The French 1st section also fails it's morale check and breaks retreating 11” towards the bridge. The German section passes..

Despite winning the initiative, the French chose to move 2nd.

All units on both sides remain stationary (for best shooting bonuses) apart from the German section who are on the move, and they move closer towards the foot of hill.

In the firing phase the German chose to target the French HQ unit as it is easier to spot/concentrate fire on – despite one hit they fail to cause casualties. In their firing the French cause another casualty (#19) on the section in the field opposite, but the Germans pass their morale test.

Turn 7:

French win again... (Germans have never won the initiative in the whole game..!)

During the compulsory morale checks, and to everyone's surprise, the French 1st section recover to suppressed!

French chose to move 2nd so the  German 1st section continues to move along the foot of hill towards the town. The French 1st section make a cautious move, and turn to face the Germans (best they can do in their current suppressed state).

French firing is largely ineffective, but the German firing results in the French C-in-C being killed!. The HQ section recovers morale.

BP’s – French (3 left) German (5 left)

Turn 8:

French win again...

There are some compulsory morale checks – the French 1st section breaks and again retreats a further 11” - they end up on the bridge - the Germans almost have victory in their hands.

The French chose to move 2nd, so the German 1st section doubles along the foot of the hill towards the barn, using it as cover between them and the French reinforcement section.

Firing – one German casualty (#18) and the section fails morale and goes suppressed.

BP’s – French (3 left) German (5 left)

End Turn 8 - French 1st Section on the bridge, remains of the French HQ are on top of the hill, reinforcements have not really moved since they arrived in order to preserve firing bonuses.. German 1st section on the right is just visible - suppressed..

Turn 9:

French win the initiative again... !

Compulsory morale checks – 1st section breaks again dispersed – French reach breakpoint so they are now on special force/side level morale checks.... basically they cannot improve, only get worse. The German 2nd section passes their morale and recovers

Realising that all is almost lost the French reinforcement section does a double time move towards the barn - no shooting this turn for them, but a much better firing angle for next turn.....

In the firing section there is shooting from all sides, at the end of it though despite some hits, only the Germans get the kills - two to be precise on the reinforcement section - who fail their morale test.

In the French force morale check, the reinforcement section fails again and retreats off the table leaving it to the Germans....

Game over - German win....

Post Match Analysis:


  • First off, the butchers bill - not all of the French would be classed as "dead" as the sections were dispersed rather than destroyed....


...and the Germans... 2nd Section took a real pasting...

 

  • Rules worked well on the whole - albeit it was a fairly limited test in that I didn't have any HE capability, and we never got a close assault in (both are fairly comprehensively covered in the rules, they just didn't occur in the game) The one area I'm not sure about is the morale check...  on the whole it works well, but there is no account taken of how many casualties the element has taken overall only in the move that the test is being taken which seems to be a bit of a glaring omission?? I think that for future games I may put in a modifier for "half strength".
  • The morale status of a unit is easy to track - good => suppressed => broken (very similar to the AWI rules I use, so I use the same pins). The rules are a little unclear on the transition from suppressed to broken and what happens when - one section in the rules makes reference to broken units retreating a move, the very next section states that they are dispersed  when broken...  I'm assuming a typo, and I played it that an already broken unit failing a morale test would disperse..  seemed to work..
  • As expected, the morale is a key quality differentiator - if I was to play this game again I would be tempted to make either the French or the Germans class 3 - not both - it would be a much closer game.
I enjoyed that - thanks for the idea Jeff!

End Game - French survivors head for home......

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Body of British soldier found at Waterloo...

...spotted this in the paper today... absolutely fascinating....

They have uncovered the body of a soldier near to the Lion Mound at Waterloo - almost certainly British infantry...

Two things struck me.... one the size of that musket ball... 1.5cm's I reckon from the scale.... huge stopping power.... the ball also looks to be in surprisingly good condition - no loss of shape at all - I always thought that they would lose shape on contact.....


..the other thing is that the body was found with coins still on it - clearly battlefield looting was not as endemic as I thought......


Full story (with inane reader comments!) here...

Sunday, June 10, 2012

"Operation Cornichon" - Game 3 - Setup and Turns 1-3

Last weekend, with the weather up to it's usual Bank Holiday best in the UK (grey, cold, wet, raining, cold,oh, and did I mention it was also grey??), I at last found myself in a position where, with no boating on the cards, I could spend some time in the loft..

So I turned to my uncompleted WWII campaign, Operation Cornichon, and set up the third, and final game, of the three linked table top teasers that I put together all those weeks (months??) ago as part of Blue Bear Jeff's challenge (and also here)

For this game I decided to have a go with the "Rate of Fire" skirmish rules I picked up at Salute..


This scenario is based on "Reinforcements in Depth (2)"; Teaser #16 from "Scenario's for Wargamers".. the Wehrmacht's finest have finally (slowly) caught up with the French force they have been hounding for the last two games - slowly that is, since in the last game the French had 'done' for their transport  . The French, exhausted and near end, are told that reinforcements (1 section - diced for arrival time) are on the way, and that they must stop and hold at all costs...

They have been given a line of hills to hold that provides cover for their escape route over a bridge which carries the road west and south. The bridge is on the outskirts of a destroyed town, which also has a rail head...

French positions - start of game - click to embigen...  German entry points bottom to mid-right..
The French have two complete sections, plus a force HQ comprising the C-in-C and two subordinates...

So in "Rate of Fire" terms regular troops, lowish morale as you would expect after two defeats, poor officers with no morale/command benefits... the force does have 3 LMG's and a couple of anti tank rifles however, and also has the benefit of being in defence - they don't have to do anything to win this game, they already occupy the "victory conditions"..  in points terms then, 398 points, and a break point of 8..


..and the Germans - much better quality troops - higher morale, good leadership...  606 points and higher break point, but they'll need that to balance the fact that they will have to attack to win the game.


Move 1:

...and a view along the line of the French positions, 3rd section nearest the camera..  LMG behind the tree...  in the distance you can see the 1st section.. what you can't see is the HQ which is in the ruined 3 storey house..
 

..cautious advance by the French looking to widen their firing angle..

A view from behind the French lines...Railhead - French transport - the bren carrier is just for appearance - German entry point is in the distance...
...stupid move by the Germans - I came haring on to the table (an "at the double" move) as I wanted to get to those hedges/walls at the end of the very open fields...  what I didn't realise was that this put me at a disadvantage in that I couldn't fire back, and the French got firing bonuses! German 2nd Section furthest away, 1st Section closest, HQ in the woods between the two..

First blood to the French - two casualties on 2nd section but they pass their morale test...  German BP now 9 left

Move 2:

The French win the initiative and chose to move first - a "cautious advance" brings them to the edge of the hill and allows them to fire to best benefit, as until then the ridge line of the hill was blocking sight...

Germans slow down so they can return fire, but amazingly, no casualties for either side...


Move 3:

A further slow advance by the Germans who make their veteran status count in this turn to (finally!) inflict their first casualties on the French...  the French reciprocate in kind..


Casualties to date - 2 French losses (6 left before BP), 3 German losses (8 left before BP). Both sides fail their morale checks this turn, and are suppressed (blue pins above).

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Interview with Don Featherstone..



Thanks to John Curry of the History of Wargaming project for posting this... superb...

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Still here.. still breathing...

...just too much stuff to do elsewhere and at work - as I read somewhere else, life can be 'savage' at times... 

...that's the way it goes of course..  in the interim this'll keep you going....  just awesome....