Monday, May 4, 2015

German Objective Markers for Flames of War


Just a quick update.  For a while I have been working on late war German projects for flames of war and I decided I needed to get some objective markers done to these armies.  These two are the Barkmann mechanic marker and the Michael Wittmann marker.  These will see lots of table time with various late and mid war German armies.






Monday, April 27, 2015

Blitz's Battlegroup


Here is my completed Blitz's Battlegroup box.  This has been a fun project but this marks the end, at least for now, of my WWI Germans.  I do have lots more to paint for the collection but with 2150 points now done I have no immediate need for more.  I might be jumping into my WWI British soon but only time will tell

Sunday, April 26, 2015

A7V Mephisto

This is the second of the A7V tanks from the Blitz's Battlegroup box.  I painted this as probably the most famous A7V of all time - Mephisto.  This tank was captured by the Australians and is in a museum in Australia.  It is the only original A7V left.  My take has more yellow than the painted that is currently on the original.  Since this is Mephisto I had to paint the mascot on the bow of the tank.





I person I like this paint job much better than Gretchen.  The Gretchen scheme has the advantage of photographing well.  Anyway, they both turned out amazing and I can't wait to get them on the table.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

A7V Gretchen

The Great War Germans for Flames of War are nearing completion.  This is the first of the two tanks from the Blitz's Battlegroup box.  The German A7V may be one of the ugliest tanks ever made.  It just seems so useless and in reality it wasn't very good.  The Battlefront model, however, is really beautiful.  I really enjoyed paint these tanks.





Friday, April 24, 2015

Great War Germans for Flames of War, Part 5

Another day, another WWI update.  Today we have the German Infantry Gun Platoon.  The platoon consists of one or two guns that deploy and act independently.  This seems like a useful unit but for guards these are really expensive.



This was my first attempt that the colorful German camouflage of the late war period.  I think it turned out pretty good.  We are in the home stretch on this project now!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Great War Germans for Flames of War, Part 4



After a short delay I am back to working on my Flames of War WWI Germans.  This project is moving rapidly towards completion.  This installment is the Infantry Machine-gun Platoon.  Probably the most iconic unit of the war.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Flank Attack at Chancellorsville

After a year delay we finally got Black Powder back on the table couple of weekends ago.  We had several of our usual players as well as a couple new players.  All together about 7 people.  Our past games have been basic meeting engagement/kill'em all sort of games.  The last couple we have used some random force charts that Tom has created that have given pretty good results and interesting forces.

For this battled I wanted to do something more than just a random encounter.  I have recently been reading about the Battle of Chancellorsville and I find Jackson's flank attack a very interesting part of the battle.  There seemed to be enough information for me to build a divisional level scenario centered on D.H. Hill's division attacking the Union 1st Division, XI Corps.

Historically, this was not a good match-up for the Union.  1st Division, XI Corps was not a strong or well unit, while D.H. Hill's division was a large, powerful and veteran formation.  In addition, the Union forces were off guard and unprepared to defend themselves.  At first this seemed like a poor setting for a game scenario but in Black Powder the games are not really meant to be evenly matched, tournament style balanced games.  And this game certainly would not be balanced.

The first task was the creation of the order of battle for the game.  Having decided on the main units for each side I needed the specific regiments and brigades that each division was comprised of.  For the Union I would also set the experience level of the units and the command ratings for the commanders.  For this game we would not use any of the unit special rules but if we play this again I might incorporate some.  Here is the source for my Union order of battle - http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chancellorsville_Union_order_of_battle#XI_Corps

Union

First Division

BG Devens rating 6

First Brigade - von Gilsa

Col von Gilsa rating 7

41st New York - Large green
45th New York - Large green
54th New York - Large green
153rd Pennsylvania - Large green

Second Brigade - McLean

BG McLean rating 7

25th Ohio - Standard elite
55th Ohio - Standard elite
75th Ohio - Standard elite
107th Ohio - Large green
17th Connecticut - Large green
New York Light, 13th Battery - regular

Reserve from 3rd Division

Ltc Schirmer

82nd Ohio
1st Ohio Light Battery I
1st Ohio Light Battery K
New York Light 2nd Battery
1st West Virginia Light Battery C

The ratings and the troop qualities for the reserve are randomly determined.

The 1st division was made up of a large number of German immigrants and was a small division compared to their Confederate opponent.   They were probably better troops than I have rated them for this scenario.  I am using the ratings to help represent the level of surprise the rebel army achieved.  Brigadier Devens was, by all accounts, a fairly useless commander and issued no orders during the battle.  Eventually, he turned over the command the BG McLean and left the field.

Confederate

D. H. Hill's Division (Rodes)

BG Rodes

Rodes' Brigade

Col O'Neal

3rd Alabama
5th Alabama
6th Alabama
12th Alabama
26th Alabama

Colquitt's Brigade

BG Colquitt

6th Georgia
19th Georgia
23rd Georgia
27th Georgia
28th Georgia

Ramsuer's Brigade

BG Ramsuer

2nd North Carolina
4th North Carolina
14th North Carolina
30th North Carolina

Doles' Brigade

BG Doles

4th Georgia
12th Georgia
21st Georgia
44th Georgia

Iverson's Brigade

BG Iverson

5th North Carolina
12th North Carolina
20h North Carolina
23rd North Carolina

Carter's Artillery Battalion

Ltc Carter

Reese's Battery
Carter's Battery
Fry's Battery
Page's Battery

The leader and troop quality, as well as unit sizes, for all Confederate units were randomly determined.  I don't know, off-hand, the specific ratings but I know there where no brigade commanders less than 7 and most were 8.  There was at least one brigade commander at a 9 and the overall Confederate commander was also a 9.  In all it was a fairly balanced force.

Rules Modifications

For our ACW games we use the Black Powder rules mostly as written in the book.  We do, however make a couple of adjustments that we feel fit the flavor of the period.  The first is we do not allow infantry units to assume the Attack Column formation.  There is some historical debate but we feel that it was used so rarely that allowing in our games seems a bit gamey.  Cavalry units an assume the Attack Column formation, but as of yet, we have not used cavalry in our games.

The American Civil War was fought in some extremely rugged and difficult terrain.  This terrain was frequently a major factor in the outcome of battles and some battles were fought entirely in dense forest.  This means that the rules prohibition against formed units entering woods is not appropriate for the period.  As such we allow units in Line formation to enter woods but limit them to  single move (in past scenarios we limited this to a 6" move but not for the game).

The Scenario

The table for this game was 12'x6' with the long edges representing North and South.  The Orange Turnpike ran along the Southern edge of the table with a another road branching off towards the Western end of the battlefield.  North of the Orange Turnpike is a section of high ground.  On the Eastern end of the table (in the Southeast corner) is the Wilderness Church.  This was the main objective of the attacking Confederates.  There is a road leading North from the Orange Turnpike, at the Wilderness Church, that goes towards a small farm (Hawkins).  The Western end of the table had large section of Woods that spread out along the Northern and Southern edges, leaving a clearing in the center.

The deployment was preset for the Union forces.  At the extreme West end of the Union line is von Gilsa's Brigade.  The 54th New York and the 153rd Pennsylvania are deployed facing West and have had time for some improvised defensive potions.  The works grant a +1 morale save bonus which helped to offset the green rating of these regiments.  These two regiments are large and fill the gap between the two roads.  The remainder of von Gilsa's Brigade, the 41st and 45th New York, are deployed along the Orange Turnpike facing South.  These units have not done anything to prepare their positions.

McLean's Brigade was deployed adjacent to von Gilsa along the Orange Turnpike.  In order along the road was the 17th Connecticut (green), the 55th Ohio (veteran) and the 107th Ohio (green).  The 75th Ohio (veteran) was deployed in reserve supporting von Gilsa's Brigade.  The unit was facing south and was well behind the main line.  The 25th Ohio was also in reserve facing South well behind the line, near Hawkins.  The New York Light, 13th Battery was deployed behind the main line on the crest of the high ground.  The battery faced South.

Initial Union deployment.  Hawkins is in the foreground.
The Confederate players would be allowed to determine their own deployment.  They were limited to within 18" of the Western edge of the table.  This zone was very tight and restricted by the woods on the North and South.  The Confederates chose to deploy all 6 commands on the table so they were stacked very thick at the beginning of the battle.

The Game

The Rebels had the first turn and had to make very good time if they were to win the game.  Their objective was to capture the Wilderness Church, for a minor victory, or capture the church and exist one brigade off the Eastern edge for a major victory.  All within the 12 turn limit.  They needed good command rolls as well as good shooting, early in the game to make their breakthrough.

With this in mind the Confederates proceeded to fail several command rolls which slowed the advance early on.  The Rebel center did get off to a good start and three brigades, along with the artillery battalion, advanced on the Union line.

Confederate brigades infiltrate the woods West of the Union positions.  Many of these units would spend half the game bogged in the rough ground.
Iverson's Brigade boldly advancing along the Orange Turnpike dangerously close to the enemy.  This brigade was well led and the bold advance paid off.
The Union troops await the unending hordes of rebel rushing (or sauntering) towards them.  These two regiments would give good account of themselves but they were doomed from the start.
The massive Rebel army on the move.  It would take several turns for the attack to gain momentum.
Two Confederate brigades would spend several turns hacking through the woods on the North side of the battlefield.  A combination of bad ground and failed command almost took these units out of the fight completely.



The Confederate force finally flank the Union forces and begin to drive them off.  The 54th New York has been routed and the 153rd Penn is wavering.  This was taking too much time.


Thousands of rebel troops are still slogging through the woods but they are advancing.

The 75th Ohio is shaken and retiring but still putting up a withering fire.  They have managed to delay and entire Confederate brigade for several turns.

McLean's Brigade is very slow to change their facing to deal with the Confederate threat.  Fortunately, von Gilsa's Brigade is fighting hard and buying time.

The 75th Ohio has been routed and the Rebels are streaming past the Union flank.  The 25th Ohio has taken up a position un support of the Union artillery on the ridge but they are in a bad spot.  Iverson's Brigade has broken but the Confederate reserves are close at hand to fill the gap and press the attack.

The remnants of von Gilsa's Brigade are retiring in the center as McLean's Brigade attempts to plug the center of the Union line.  The Union right no longer exists and Confederate regiments from two separate brigade streak towards the objective.  The Union reserves blast down the Orange Turnpike into the advancing Rebels but it hardly matters at this point.

The gateway to the objective is open but it is the last turn.  The Confederates get an excellent command roll and three moves.  The Union attempts to counter by repositioning the artillery but they cannot do enough damage to change the outcome.
In the end the Confederates were able to squeeze out a minor victory by getting a single regiment within 6" of the church.  It was so close.  Much closer that is probably should have been.  Ironically, the unit that won the day for the Confederates belonged to the weakest led brigade and spend most of the game stuck in the woods behind the main fighting.  The Confederates were hampered all game with poor command rolls while the Union morale saves were shockingly good.  These two factory kept the game very close and almost cost the battle for the Confederates.

Of the half dozen or so Black Powder games we have played this was , by far, the best game yet!  The historically influenced scenario really helped to anchor the game and give the players something to strive for, even if it was just holding out longer than their historical counterparts.  I really enjoyed the research for the scenario as well and I am inspired to develop more.  I think this is really how this game shines.