>> Sunday, 28 February 2010
Skirmish During The Trojan War
A 28mm Bronze Age Wargame, Tyneside Wargames Club, February 27th, 2010
Report: Steve Spence
Having just sweated blood to produce 14 new chariots in a week for the UK Warhammer Ancients Grand Tournament, I was keen to see them re-used before being consigned to the shelf. So, Lloyd was set the challenge of coming up with a skirmish game (using his own rules) that could be both chariot-heavy and playable. As usual, he delivered in spades.
The scenario involved a Trojan raiding party, legging it for home after an unsuccessful sortie against the Greek camp, pursued by vengeful Achaeans. The Trojan chariot force was inside the citadel, ready to issue forth to rescue. Victory points were achieved by killing well-equipped or famous figures and recovering their body, either to strip it for booty, or to deny the opposition the opportunity for an appropriate funeral (and, of course, wake). Potential candidates were identified after any figure was slain in combat, by die-roll.
The game started with a small force of Greeks having caught up with the fleeing Trojans, splitting them into two contingents and cornering some Lukka. The Trojan player had to choose whether to abandon the Lukka (including their king, Sarpadon) or to try to keep them alive whilst the rescuing force assembled and deployed. He chose the latter course and several rounds of to-ing and fro-ing ensued, with the (slightly) superior Greek numbers telling in the end. Some casualties revealed themselves as 'notables' and some satisfyingly Homeric struggles for the possession of corpses took place. The encouragement for the Trojans came in the Greek player's inability to roll the score required to initiate the arrival of his reinforcements, including the chariots which whould be necessary for successful hearse operations.
Slowly, the Trojan relief force emerged from their citadel and formed up. At the front, the Lukka finally fell and the remnants of the Trojan raiding party were reduced to Hector and two or three of his personal retinue. The Greeks had possession of three or four important cadavers and, finally, their reinforcements started to arrive.
The Trojan chariot force finally started to emerge from the citadel. The bottleneck of the gate meant that only two could deploy each turn. Fortunately, there were several successive turns of indecisive fighting which allowed a four-chariot holding force to launch an attack on the Greek line. The scenario rules included a mechanism for determining whether the charge of the chariots caused the Greek shieldwall to quaver, in which case the chariots could enter melee, or if the Greeks would hold their nerve, in which case the chariots would 'bounce'. Twice, the chariots launcehd pell-mell assaults on the ever-strengthening Greek line, losing some of their number to missile fire, and twice they were repelled.
The Greeks had been steadily loading ex-Trojans onto their chariots and could only be prevented from a resounding victory if the Trojan charge succeeded. Alas, after some savage fighting, the Greek shieldwall prevailed and drove off the Trojan nobility. The Greeks legged it back to their camp to count their booty, indulge in some heroic corpse-despoiling and to further deliberate on how to get into that blasted citadel (tunnel? Time And Relative Dimensions In Space machine?)
Footnote: Lloyd has a widely-held reputation for dice-rolling to order. He disputes this, of course, and insists that I place on record his dice-roll to finish off a wounded Hector at the resolution of a combat where the Greeks had cornered the Trojan hero and inflicted four hits. Anything but a one on any of the four rolls would cause the fatal wound. I leave it for posterity and his friends to judge whether this was a typical or an atypical Lloydian dice-roll.
Rules and Scenario:
>> Friday, 26 February 2010
The game was a solo game with a randomly run convoy and escorts. There was a random mix of types and numbers of escorts present.The convoy was represented by a random mix of counters for the merchantmen, and a separate line of possible escorts.
The convoy represents a typical one plying the East coast of England and the setting is in early 1942.We assume the Germans have intelligence allowing them to intercept the convoy at night, before a quick return to Cherbourg before daylight – and the R.A.F.
Each of the 3 players took 2 S-38 class boats, and had to cause the maximum damage without taking damage themselves. A points system allowed a degree of healthy competition between the players! The players randomised where on their table edge they started.
All the players agreed to move slowly (on their electric engines) which made it much more difficult for the enemy to spot them.
The right hand S-38s spotted an armed trawler escort, and soon after a flower class corvette and a Hunt type 2 destroyer! – where were the merchantmen?– he might have expected the trawler, but for some reason the British had put a task group in that area.
Seeing the futility of tangling with this mass of RN ships, the S-38s moved up the convoy hoping to find easier pickings.
On the left the Germans quickly spotted several merchantmen, for obvious reasons these seemed to have no naval escorts!!
These Schnellboots moved quietly in to close the range for a good torpedo attack, and when they had got close enough without being spotted fired 1 torpedo from each boat.
In the centre, the Germans had difficulty spotting anything (probably some local mist?) and decided to move up the convoy to the left to try and locate some targets.
All this time the convoy was steaming along slowly, and only became aware of the attack when the torpedoes fired earlier were about to hit!
The first torpedo exploded under a 3000 ton freighter and broke it in two, the second exploded near another 3000 tonner and caused some damage.
Alerted, the RN put on their radar and located one of the S-38s from the right. An Escort fired its 4” gun but the round fell short.
Unfortunately for the target, the navies gunnery improved -- and with an enormously lucky shot first came close, then actually hit near the boats bow, knocking out the torpedo tubes and forward 30mm gun.
Another escort spotted one of the S-38s in the centre, but much more typically, missed by a mile!These boats went to maximum speed and evaded the escorts, eventually finding the freighter damaged earlier. This was dispatched by multiple torpedo attacks.
On the left, the S-38s which attacked successfully earlier had the greatest luck again as their lookouts spotted a small tanker. They fired their remaining torpedoes which caused a massive explosion on the stricken vessel.
Having alerted the convoy, and having fired their torpedoes, the Schnellboots fled back to Cherbourg...
… though not before the undamaged boat from the right managed to destroy a small collier they found isolated.
This was a massive victory for the German Schnellbootswaffe, only made possible by the RNs failure to provide a full screen of escorts.The damaged German boat would probably take weeks, or months to repair -- which would have tarnished the victory somewhat.
(Pictures by Lawrence and Richard)
(Models mostly Skytrex 1:600)
>> Friday, 19 February 2010
This is another ‘What if’ game involving a suppositional German landing in Kent in late 1940.
This game, it is assumed the German Paras (Falschirmjagers) have landed and grouped around a farmhouse, in approximately platoon strength.
The British have gathered a full platoon of regulars and a platoon of Home Guard
The regulars have the support of a Matilda 1 tank, the guard a Morris armoured car.
The Germans used a hidden deployment, so the British split their forces.
The armoured car an 4 Home Guardsmen were to reconnoitre the German position...
... then the regulars were to push toward the farm down one road, while the H.Gs were to go down the other road. The Matilda was between these forces.
The Home Guard platoon was to move down the left.
As per orders, the Matilda, with a Vickers gun and crew riding ‘Desant’ moved slightly ahead of the advancing lines of infantry, and was ambushed at short range by a section of Germans hiding in rough ground beyond the stream. The Matilda was undamaged beyond rattling a little under the hail of bullets, but the Vickers team was wiped out.
The Matilda, together with the supporting regulars, did eventually managed to force the ambush party to retire...
… but another newly arrived German squad began firing from the regulars right, preventing them following up. The Regulars took several casualties in this action.
The Home Guard armoured car ran into a third squad hiding in rough ground...
…while the main Home Guard force met the Falgschirmjagers command group.
The Armoured car fell back and gave long range supporting fire with its Bren, and with the support of a squad of Home Guard they managed to force their opponents to withdraw as well.
The Falschirmjagers command group lost its radio team to the Home Guards fire, and in a typically gutsy German move, ran down the hill to cover in front of the Home Guard position.
Some of the Home Guard panicked after taking a couple of casualties and fell back to better cover in the rear.
By this time however, the German centre and left began to fall back covering one another.
They had wisely decided that being attacked by twice their numbers of enemy with armoured support was not a winnable scenario.
The Germans ended up taking about the same losses as the British, but the rate of loss could not be sustained by such a small force for long.
One would imagine this British force getting broken up by a German counter attack soon after this engagement as they were in France so often. But who knows?
>> Tuesday, 16 February 2010
The Russians deployed with a strong double line of infantry flanked on the left with Kuirassiers, dragoons and a regiment of Hussars. Most of that wings light cavalry, together with some dismounted Pandours deployed in the infantry line facing a steep hill.
On the right they deployed one regiment each of Kuirassiers, dragoons and Horse grenadiers. An additional regiment of dragoons lacking horses joined the infantry line. In front they deployed four regiments of Cossacks and Kalmuks, the field being most open on that flank.
The Prussians deployed in two lines of infantry as well, but the second line was less solid as several battalions were placed in support of their strong right wing cavalry.
On their left they placed two Kurassier regiments and a dragoon regiment, supported on their left by the Garde du Corps Kuirassiers.
The Prussians began a measured advance on their left but were countered by the Russian left wing cavalry. The Russians had correctly assumed that if they stayed in place the Prussian infantry would have driven them from the field. Instead, they launched attacks against the Prussian cavalry in a desperate battle of attrition.
On the Prussian left, they sent forward a battalion of frei korps skirmishers to harass the Russian cavalry.
In short order these fled before a ferocious Cossack attack. Seeing the Russians pushing round their flank the Prussian heavy cavalry moved forward to engage.
The Cossacks attempted to flank charge them as they manoeuvred, but one regiment of Cossacks were driven off by canister from the Prussian guns, and the regiment which charged the flank of the Garde du Corps was routed by them, despite the Prussians taking damage from supporting bow fire from the Kalmuks.
The Garde du Corps chased the routing Cossacks across the front of the Russian centre, but choosing to then attack a battery of Russian guns rather than rally back were destroyed by accurate Russian canister shot.
This flank then settled down to relative inactivity with the Prussian cavalry skirmishing with the Kalmuks, but feeling unable to attack the well placed Russian guns and foot.
On the Russian left, the Prussian numbers gradually wore down the Russian cavalry. Soon, they had forced the Russian cavalry from the field – but the Russians had prevented the wing from collapsing long enough to force a draw.
Neither sides center had engaged, the Russians because of the risk of exposing their flanks to the Prussian Kuirassiers and the Prussians because of the weakness of their center infantry. Neither side could realistically claim outright victory, both sides had taken losses, but neither side was crippled. However, what Frederick would feel about the loss of the Garde du Corps must be left to your imagination!
(Pictures by Lawrence and Richard)
(Figures mostly by Old Glory - Prussians, and Lancashire/Essex - Russians)