Sunday, October 4, 2015

No Man's Land - A Great War Battle Report

Tom and I got together yesterday for our second Flames of War Great War battle.  The scenario we played was No Man's Land.  Tom had picked his own set of trenches so this was a good excuse to get them on the table.  The forces were the same lists we used for our first game but this time Tom would play the Germans and I took the British.

This is an interesting scenario and very different from other FoW scenarios I have played.  The table is divided into quarters.  Each player has a trench line on their side.  The main deployment zone for each player is from their trench line to their table edge.  The Germans would be the attackers and the British defending.  Each side placed an objective in no man's land and near each friendly objective is a patrol platoon.  The goal is to capture the enemy objective while defending their own. 

The initial deployment.  Germans at the top with a platoon of HMGs, reinforced with AT rifles and grenatenwerfers.  The German patrol was deployed in no man's land to the British right.  Backing up the German patrol was an A7V tank.  The British are on the near side with their patrol to the left.  The British trench was empty except for the commander and 2iC.  The British did have three HMG pits, 2 to the left and one right, and 2 18 pdr pits, one center and one far left.

The German patrol with the A7V in support.  As the attacker the Germans only had to hold half of their platoons in reserve and could start with a tank on the table.  The German trench was also well manned with support weapons running the entire length.

The British patrol starts near their friendly objective and supported by guns and HMGs.

The first couple of turns had the German and British patrols moving towards each other in no man's land.  The Germans were more aggressive and moved to attack.  German flamethrowers did their damage but their assault was repulsed by defensive fire.

At this stage both the Germans and the British were tempted to make very bad moves.  The British thought about continuing their advance on the German objective but corrected switched to the defensive lead by the CO.  The Germans were then tempted to advance into the British trench to flank the HMG pits.  They wise stayed on mission and move to capture the British objective.  The stage was set for an epic struggle.

For a couple of turns the British and Germans engages in a brutal fire fight and assault.  The Germans made many saves but the British were not so lucky.  The Germans wiped out the British patrol and left the CO alone in no man's land surrounded by Germans.  The British needed to get two kills to trigger a platoon test and the Germans would need to fail two motivation tests to prevent the Germans from winning.  This was a lot to ask considering how well Tom had been rolling all game.  Against all odds the British fire triggered the needed test and Tom failed the first test and then the re-roll from the company commander!  The fight would go on.

Meanwhile, the British reserves were slowly making their way onto the battle field.  They were well positioned to capture the German objective as long as they could make it across the wire and the German reserves didn't get there first.

The German reserves enter the battle and make good speed to secure their objective.  But before they could clear the trench line they came under sniper fire and the German officers could not get them to advance any further.

The German A7V, guarding the objective, was knocked out by fire from the 18 pdr.  All that was needed was an aggressive advance by the British and the battle would be won.  The British Mk IV tank bogged on the trenches but the infantry was able to advance.  Avert skillfully crossing their wire the British secured the objective and won the battle!
This was a great battle that was moving strongly in the German's favor until the last turn.  Tom's failure to unpin his reserve platoon along with the British veterans easily crossing their wire spelled doom for the Germans.  Frankly, this battle should have been over on turn four with the fight in no man's land but my luck really turned at that point in the game.  So far we have had two really good games of WWI and I must say I think Battlefront has done a really good job.  I can't wait to get the official release and start working on an American army.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Another French Battalion

Just over 4 years ago I painted my first unit of French troops for the Napoleonic era.  I was pretty excited at the time to finally be working on a long dreamed of project.  My local group's discovery of the Black Powder rules had several of us excited about jumping into a big project.  Well, that dream slowly faded into the background and several of my friends moved on from the idea.

1/8 Line regiment.  The figures are Victrix and are still my favorite of the plastic figures.

I never gave up on the dream of doing Napoleonic Black Powder games and have been slowly adding models to the collection and the paint queue.  Today I finished the second French battalion for this project.  Sadly, at this rate I will be too old to actually use them once I have enough painted for a game.  That just means that I need to get on the ball and get some stuff painted!

My entire painted French Napoleonic collection.  1/8 line regiment and the 1/2 line regiment.

I still have a couple of friends who have an interest in the project so things are not hopeless.  In fact, I am working adding a collection of Russians.  These will take a back seat to the French as you can't have a proper Napoleonic battle without the French.  It feels good to get this project back on the paint bench.

I have two more Victrix line battalions assembled and in the painting process.  Once those are done I will paint a commander and a gun and have a brigade ready for action.  I would like to have this phase done by the end of the year.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Ork Painboy and Grot Orderly

It was exactly a year ago that I painted my last 40K figures.  After all the Flames of War I have been painting I needed a break.  This Painboy and Grot Orderly set has been sitting on my to do shelf for a couple of years.  It was just the thing to clear the painting pallet so to speak.

I also painted an ammo runt but I just could not get a good picture.  Now, back to something more useful.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Late War German Grenadier Company for Flames of War

My late war German grenadier company is finished.  This marks the second complete Flames of War army I have painted in the last 30 days.  I have bee collecting figures for this army for almost a year, maybe a little longer.  A standard grenadier force has been a project I have wanted to do for a long time and it feels good to get this one done.  It will actually see a lot of table-time as a mid-war force for our upcoming Kursk campaign.

This is the company command and the 2iC.  The command figures are Battlefront from the Open Fire set.  The panzerschreck team and the snipers are metal figures from Peter Pig.  I will eventually add the mortars.
Grenadier platoon 1.  These are all plastic Battlefront figures.  I really fell in love with these models while painting them.
Platoon 2 is just the same as platoon 1.
Platoon three is also Battlefront plastic figures but the panzerschreck team is metal figures from Peter Pig.
The grenadier scout platoon is made of Battlefront plastic figures.  I had two starter sets worth of models so the extras went to the little platoon.  Not sure how useful it will be in the game but I will find out.
The HMG platoon is metal Battlefront figures.  When I decide to add a second HMG platoon I might use PSC.  That would allow me to built two platoons of mortars as well...
Battlefront plastic PaK40 platoon from the Open Fire set.  These are nice models but a little flimsy on the barrels.  Hopefully these hold up on the table.
Battlefront NW42 Nebelwerfer battery.  The NW41 is probably more common but just about every German army in Flames of War has nebs.
German 10.5cm leFH18 howitzer battery.  The models are by Battlefront and are really nice.  The scenic bases make the painting and assembly a little more challenging but the results a great.  In all my years of playing FoW I am not sure I have ever seen German artillery.
Opel Blitz 3-ton trucks.  These are transports for the gun and artillery platoons.  I am pretty sure I will never need more than these 4 trucks.
This is a picture of my entire late war German collection.  This includes everything from this post as well as all my LW tanks I have painted over the years.  No Fallschirmjagers, however.  That is a totally different collection.
This is not everything I have for late war but it is a fully functioning army so I am calling this done.  I still have a company of Panther A to paint sometime.  It think it is time to switch gears for a while and work on something a little bigger.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Big Push - A Great War Battle Report

Last weekend Tom and I decided to try out Flame of War Great War.  (I already outlined the army painting drama in a previous post.)  I have been dying to try this for more than a year and was really excited to finally get it on the table.  Tom has been interested but was not really excited about Battlefront's decision to start the period in 1918.  Like many gamers, Tom was concerned that a trench slaughter would not make for an entertaining game.  I can understand the concern but after reading through the rules for the period a few times I thought it would work.  The only way to know would be to put it on the table.

With those apprehensions noted we played the classic trench assault scenario - The Big Push.  This is the first of the three scenarios in the Great War booklet and when combined with the two from Wargames Illustrated, marks the beginning of what could easily be a campaign.

Naturally,  have two forces prepared for the game.  Each was based on the forces that you get in the initial army boxes - Blitz's Battlegroup and Mitchell's Marauders.  Point level was 1500.

The German force is an Infantry Company from a reserve division so the troop rating is confident trained.  The list is as follows:

CO and 2iC with SMG upgrade
3 Flamethrowers
3 AT rifles
2 Granatenwerfers
Marksman (the term sniper was not common in the period)

2 Infantry Platoons with 6 Rifle teams, 2 MG teams and SMG upgrade for the command

Infantry Machine Gun  platoon with 4 HMG

1 A7V tank
1 Infantry gun platoon with 2 7.62cm Krupp guns

The British force is based on an Elite Division and is rated confident veteran.  In theory, this should make the British force smaller but in reality both armies would have 6 platoons and almost the same number of bases.  The German had a slight advantage due to the large number of HQ upgrades they could afford.  The British list is as follows:

CO and 2iC pistol teams

2 Rifle Platoons with 4 rifle, 2 MG and 2 rifle grenades

 MG Platoon with 3 HMG

Mk IV male tank
Artillery Detachment with 2 OQF 18 pdr gun

Tom  took the British and I the Germans.  We rolled off for attacker/defender as we both had a tank and neither had an artillery battery.  In the GW an artillery battery is auto-defend and tanks are auto-attack so a dice roll was required.  I won and chose to attack thinking that both armies would be playing too their strengths.  Generally speaking, CT armies are better on the attack as the lower point cost allows for bigger armies.  Veteran armies, however, are much stronger in defense where their skill along with terrain make them very hard to hit.

The terrain setup is pretty well static with the defender's trenches dominating the table.  For our game we used some craters, roads, shattered woods and damaged buildings.  The defenders also get up to 6 barbed wire sections to go in no-mans land (naturally I forgot to bring those so we have to improvise with some store terrain).  Since the attacker sets up 2" off the center line most of the table on their side is not of much consequence. 

The initial deployment and terrain placement.  The British are at the top.  They have one rifle platoon spread out along the length of the trench.  Tom placed his HMG teams into MG pits with 2 on the German right and one on the German left.  The British 18 pdr guns were deployed in gun pits on either side of the road behind the center trench section.  For the Germans the extreme left of their line was the A7V.  Moving towards the right was the first infantry platoon reinforced with 2 flamethrowers, 1 AT rifle and 1 granatenwerfer.  The CO was also in support of this flank.  The German center was covered by the 2 trench guns and the HMG platoon.  On the right was infantry platoon 2 reinforced with one flamethrower and two AT rifles and one granatenwerfer.

The British positions on the German right.  The junction between the trench and the communication trench is the objective.  This is well covered by two HMG nests and the 18 pdr.  The Germans would attach this position with platoon 2 as a diversion to prevent the British from shifting all the infantry in the trench to the German left.

The British positions on the German left.  With one fewer HMG nest this side would be the major focus for the Germans.  And like the right side the objective would be the trench junction.  In theory, this should be the easier side for the Germans to breach with the weaker defense and the A7V facing this section.

The German left and center.  The HMG platoon deployed in the shattered woods would turn out to be a mistake as it did not provide bullet-proof cover like the cratered ground just outside the woods.

The German right and center.  In retrospect the trench guns would have been more use in direct support of the platoons rather than in the center where they were easy targets for the 18 pdrs.

By turn 2 the 'diversionary' attack on the German right had made surprising progress and breached the British trenches.  At this point a critical decision was made to assault the unpinned HMG nest rather than make and Infantrie Vor! move to consolidate into the trenches.  The assault was be repulsed by defensive fire with losses.  The British would then finish off the Germans in the open.

On the German left the attack was bogging down at the wire.  18 pdr fire was damaging the A7V and then poor movement by the German infantry effectively too the tank out of the fight.

With the loss of platoon 2 the Germans were able to recycle the platoon and bring in platoon 3.  This was placed to the center left in support of the failed attack by platoon 1.  Yes, the Germans reinforced failure but it seems like the right idea.

The remnants od platoon one finally made it to the trenches and did some damage.  They were able to clear some rifles from the trench and eliminate the HMG nest.  This should open the door for platoon 3 to storm the trenches but they were a little out of position.

Remnants of platoon 1 in the trenches and platoon three making their assault.  Defensive fire would be too much for platoon three and they would be pushed back.

With the failure of platoon three's assault the British were able to shift their defense to the German left and clear the trenches.  Platoon three would die in no-man's land.

In all the game would go 5 turns with the Germans being in a great position on turn two to get the win.  Bach decisions by me in deployment and movement doomed the attack.  I really like how this played out and Tom and I had lots of fun.  It was much more of a nail biter of a game that you might expect.  The key to this is the close starting distance.  Basically the attacker is at the final phase of a battalion level attack.  The major blood crossing no-man's land has been shed and you are commanding a fresh company for the final assault.  Even with that the Germans took huge casualties but it was a very winnable game.  I am looking forward to trying this again.  I am sure I will do better on the next attack...

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Mitchell's Marauders Complete

A week ago yesterday my friend Tom and I decided to try out Flames of War Great War.  I had all the stuff for the game but my British Mitchell's Marauders army was not yet painted.  It was assembled and on bases but no paint.  I told Tom that we would just try it out and I would just use the British unpainted.  On the way home I started to feel guilty about planning a game with unpainted figures.  That started the epic adventure of painting this set in 6 days.  We played our first game of Great War yesterday with two fully painted armies.  More on that later.

Company commander and 2iC with the company marksman.  There is no separate pack for the command you actually get these guys in the standard platoon pack.  This can be a bit confusing even for the guys at BF.

Platoon one.  Each platoon as a commander, two MG teams, two rifle grenade teams and 4 rifle teams.

Platoon two.  These are tough and flexible units.  They are much different then their WW2 counterparts.

Four Vickers HMGs.  Pretty much the same as the WW2 platoon.

Artillery detachment with 18lbs guns.  These are pretty brutal guns and very useful against just about anything in the period.

The Whippet tank.  Ugly as can be.

British Mk IV Male tanks.  These can be built as either male, with 6lbs guns, or female, with all machine guns.  I should have built one of each now I need to buy another box to get all the options.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

4Ground Rural Farm House

This is the last part of the farm complex and it really is the center piece of the set.  This is Rural Farm House kit number 15S-EAW-115.  I am not sure what else to say so I will let the pictures do the talking.