Sunday, July 22, 2018

Battle of Elchingen 14 October 1805 - Twice in the same day

The benefit of a small game is you can readily play it again and so we did.  With the terrain already set and troops sorted, we switched sides with Stephen taking command of the French this time.

With the end of the 09:00 turn the Austrians screening the bridge had again been routed.

9:30 and I commit Hessen-Homberg to rallying troops at Ober-Elchingen.

By 10:00 the Austrians have reinforced Ober-Elchingen by occupying the Abbey.

10:30 and Ney has led the French in capturing part of Ober-Elchingen.
Hessen-Homberg is now very busy trying to rally troops.

11:00 and more French troops appear.
Hessen-Homberg gets one unit back into some kind of order.

Which was just in time as the French immediately attacked.

11:30 and Ney has been repulsed when he attacked the Abbey.
Free Rolls did not save him.

Ney attacks again. He has no Free Rolls left.  
This time his troops are routed and he is required to roll on the General Elimination Table.
He rolls a 10.  Not a good outcome...

12:00 and Ney, who has been mortally wounded, vows to keep on fighting.

12:30 and Ney is good to his word launching further, but now desperate attacks on the Abbey.  
He was within sight of victory before succumbing to loss of blood and falling dead from his horse.

And as it was getting close to finish time, this was a good point at which to end the game.

Battle of Elchingen 14 October 1805

I was looking around for a small Austerlitz related scenario and came across an Age of Eagles scenario for the Battle of Elchingen.  I knew nothing about the battle, but it fitted my needs perfectly.  While the AoE scale is similar to Napoleon's Battles, I couldn't just use it as and luckily found an excellent OOB in Scott Bowden's book on Austerlitz and then even more fortunately a write up of the battle on the Obscure Battles Blog which also included some wonderful maps.

As the notes for the AoE scenario state, this battle is probably too small to be done justice by the rules, however having had fun with small scale games using Napoleon's Battles in the past I thought it was worth giving it a go.  I was not disappointed.

I actually created two OOBs, one using large units and the other small.  I decided to use the small one as that gave ten units per side, mostly representing regiments.  I used the map from the OB Blog, as ultimately realised by the available club terrain.  The only specific terrain I used was the BUA markers which I tried to get to match the map dimensions for the villages.  This resulted in two BUAs for Ober-Elchingen and one for Unter-Elchingen.  This had the benefit of allowing one of the BUAs for Ober-Elchingen to be rated as +2 to represent the Abbey.  The other BUAs were just +1.

 Starting positions 09:00
As it had snowed the previous day we played on a white background.
Other than that there were no weather effects.

Stephen, using his very own figures, took the Austrians.  I took the French using my figures.

 The French crossing is assisted by their artillery.,

I had the set up place the advanced Austrian unit in the arc and range of the French guns. The leading French column was placed at just under 5" back so it could change formation from march column to column and advance its residual inch to also be in range of the Austrians (but outside their 3" range).  This specific set up was aimed at avoiding the need for any tricky rules to represent the combined elite companies which historically had been pushed across to cover the bridge repair, the bridge repair itself and the initial crossing of the Danube.

 The Austrians launched an immediate counterattack, 
but the French infantry formed square and with the help of the artillery, easily repulsed them.

 End of the 09:00 turn.

 By the end of 09:30 the French 2nd Division was across the Danube.

 Ney leads an attack on Ober-Elchingen.

He had to use one of his rerolls and was successful.  The French start with three rerolls which I calculated as 1 for the first four turns plus 2 for Ney being rated as Excellent.  The Austrians start with none as their 1 for the first four turns is removed as their overall CinC is Poor (a minus 1). 

Ney adds a significant +3 to an attack, but the downside is that it means he is not available to command the army in the subsequent turn.  That means at best French infantry units will be moving at half speed.

 Another immediate Austrian counterattack.
It bounced harmlessly off the French square formed by the 6th Legere.

 End of the 10:00 turn.

Both sides have command challenges which result in much needed troops being left out of the action.
I felt this also reflected that some of the ground might be a bit boggy and therefore no additional terrain effects were required (as was the case for weather).

 End of the 10:30 turn.
Ney has returned and is ready to renew the attack.

 End of 11:00 turn.
Each side received a Free Roll marker.
The French 3rd Division has arrived.
Meanwhile the 2nd Division has advanced to engage the enemy.

 End of 11:30 turn.
Ney is being somewhat cautious and making sure his regiments are deployed ready for close combat.  His cavalry is on react, ready to exploit any weaknesses in the Austrian position.

 Ney has attacked and taken the Abbey.  Again he needed a reroll to succeed.
The cavalry have taken an opportunity to attack an Austrian unit that had become disordered.

 The Austrians are able to counterattack Ney and he is forced to withdraw.

 The 4th Dragoon Division unleash a devastating charge on the Austrian left flank.

 End of the 12:00 turn.
The 4th Dragoon Division went on a wild charge.

End of the 12:30 turn and the Austrians have broken.
Not hopelessly broken, but it was time for lunch and it was a good point at which to stop.
The French 3rd Division had not been engaged.

Just a note on the rules used.  Mostly 3rd Edition but with significant parts of 4th Edition plus a few house rules of my own.  The main things being:
  • BUA Combat as for 4th Edition
  • BUA Movement as for 3rd Edition.
  • BUA deployment and advance after combat etc as per my clarifications.
  • Interpenetration as for 3rd Edition.
  • Rally and command for units used the optional rules from the 4th Edition.
  • With the cavalry being only 8 figure units, I ignored Column formation.  They were either March Column or Line.  I rather like how this worked as I must admit I don't see the point of the Column/Line formation distinction for cavalry.
  • As there was no set number of game turns (although it would have ended with nightfall after the 17:00 turn) I decided to allocate Free Roll markers at the start of each fourth turn (i.e. at 09:00, 11:00. 13:00, 15:00 and 17:00).  This would give the French an advantage at the start (and they seemed to need it).
  • Most strikingly we played without labels!  The small OOBs with just two divisions per side and the fact that most units were the same made this fairly easy.

The Order of Battle was as follows:

Corps Division Brigade Commander/Regiment Rating Dispersal Points
6th Corps Ney 8"E(7)+3 7M     5F 32
2nd Infantry Division Loison 4"G(6)+1 14
1st Brigade Villatte
6th Legere 16FrLT 6 16
39th Ligne 16FrLN 6 15
2nd Brigade Rouget
69th Ligne 16FrLN 6 15
76th Ligne 16FrLN 6 15
3rd Infantry Division Malher 3"A(7)+0 10
1st Brigade Marcognet
25th Legere 12FrLT 5 12
27th Ligne 12FrLN 5 11
2nd Brigade Lahassee
50th Ligne 12FrLN 5 11
59th Ligne 12FrLN 5 11
6th Corps Cavalry Division Colbert 8FrLC 4 8
4th Dragoon Division Laplanche 8FrLC 4 8
6th Corps Artillery
Foot Artillery Fr12# 11
Horse Artillery Fr8# 11

Corps Division Brigade Commander/Regiment Rating Dispersal Points
II Column Riesch 8" P(5)+0 7M     5F 19
Advance Guard Coburg 4"G(6)+0 12
Advance Guard Erzherzog Ludwig IR#8 12AsLN 6 9
Centre Brigade Genegdegh
Karl Riese IR#15 12AsLN 6 9
Erzherzog Maximilien IR#35 12AsLN 6 9
Reserve Brigade Ulm 12AsLN 6 9
Artillery As6# 10
Hessen-Homburg's Division Hessen-Homberg 3"A(5)+0 8
Advance Guard Mescery
Erbach IR#42 12AsLN 6 9
Centre Brigade Auersperg
Erzherzog Karl IR#3 12AsLN 6 9
Auersperg IR#24 12AsLN 6 9
Reserve Brigade Herman 12AsLN 6 9
Cavalry Cuirassier Erzherzog Franz #2 8AsHC 3 8
Hussars/Uhlanen Blankstien #6/Schwarzenberg #2 8AsLC 4 7

I originally considered making Ulm and Herman 12AsGN but thought this would make them too tough and the actual Grenadier units were well dispersed amongst the brigades.  This also helped in my decision to avoid trying to create a French unit representing converged elite companies (and using the initial setup to give the French the chance to break out. 

Also, the French 3rd Division could almost be left out.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Vikings versus Late Sassanids

Back to 15mm for this game.

 I hadn't researched what a Sassanid Army would be like in Basic Impetus 
and so I set up very defensively with my flanks well defended.

 Turn 1 and the Vikings advance, while noting the Sassanid strength on their left has also advanced.

 Turn 2 and my right flank has engaged the enemy that has thrust wildly forward.

 Turn 3 and things get interesting.  
There is a brutal standoff after an unsuccessful flank attack by the Vikings.
(Top left hand corner - both sides suffered two casualties, a case of the Vikings rolling high for Cohesion.  This was not to be the first time this occurred...)

 Turn 4.  The centre is closing.

 Turn 5 - The Right Flank.  
One Viking unit has been routed and the other has been savaged (after a poor Cohesion roll).
In the broken ground an epic fight is about to start between Sassanid cavalry and some Irish.

 Turn 5 - The Centre.  
It was the start of some confused fighting, but the Vikings seemed to get off to a good start.

 Turn 5 - The Left Flank.
Would these guys please hurry up and join the battle?

 Turn 6 - The Centre.
The berserkers are getting ready...
Meanwhile the grind continues.
Sassanid CinC with his cavalry have been routed.  Yeah!

 Turn 6 - The Right Flank.
The fighting in the broken ground continues.
The Sassanid light cavalry is effectively spent.
But they do have one good body of cavalry remaining.

Turn 7 - Berserkers.

 Turn 7 - The Right Flank.
The Irish won the broken ground (just - they are down to 1 factor remaining).
Amazing the equally reduced Vikings held off the Sassanid cavalry.

Turn 7 - The Centre.
The fighting was a non-event, clearly everyone was exhausted and it was time to go home.

Even with my crappy dice rolls, I was surprised how well the Vikings can do.  Clearly terrain is important, but they have numbers.  The Berserkers are also fairly flexible as they have the movement capabilities of skirmishers.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Dark Age Reinforcements

I've only ever had enough Dark Age stands to create a few DBA armies, but since fielding my 28mm Vikings as a Basic Impetus army, and more importantly committing to play in the club's Impetus league, I thought I better see if I can field an Viking army in 15mm.

On the workbench I had a hodgepodge of Dark Age figures that I have been working on for at least 10 years. Sadly I can no longer remember or recognize the brands, even if I ever could.

Time to get them, or at least some of them, finished.

 Seven standard WRG bases will provide me with two units of Viking raiders.

 I really needed eight stands, but I have spare I can add to boost the number.

 These guys were going to be Light Foot (LF) but I recalled they are really meant to be close order and having eight figures that is how I based them up.  So they are Heavy Foot (FP).

 They are suitably generic, apart from the rather distinctive early German shield pattern.

 You can never have too many camp elements.  This one is going to fill in for some heavy foot.

These guys will be sitting out the battle.

France 40 - Operation Dynamo

Yesterday Richard and I played the second scenario in the GMT France '40 game, Operation Dynamo aka Dunkirk.  I went the Allies.

 End of May 24.  Rommel has disobeyed the Hitler Order to HALT!

 Will he gets his comeuppance?
Not on those die rolls.  My attack, although at 4:1 was just a 2 which meant defender retreat.  Rommel threw a 6 to conduct a determined defence and stood his ground.

As Determined Defence was to feature significantly in this game, I have reproduced the table.  Needless to say, German armour is Elite.

 May 25.  The Belgians are holding firm (mostly).
Calais has been reinforced.  However the Allies are pulling back, preparing for the worst.

 May 26.  An SS Division has gone to Rommel's rescue.  How will he ever live that down?
I'm a bit worried that the pocket is more looking like a funnel.

The Hitler Halt is still working to the Allies advantage.  It works as follows: there are six chits which the Allies place and then roll two dice and remove the chit whose number comes up.  The Allies like throwing doubles (as in the above picture).

 May 27.  The Allies have pulled back further.  
The German armour is no longer subject to Halt orders.

 May 28.  Belgium has surrendered.
It's not all bad as soon the German armour will have to start to withdraw.
Speaking of withdrawal, the Allied evacuation has started.

 Knowing that they will be withdrawing the Germans launch lots of attacks with their armour.
Luckily the Allies successfully conduct some determined defences and avoid breakthroughs.

The issue of the German armour being withdrawn is explained in the Designer Notes.  The mechanic means the Allies are fearful of the German armour, but that it will be limited in its effectiveness.

 May 29.  So far the Allies have been able to evacuate six units.
However the German attacks risk cutting off troops from Dunkirk.

 May 30.
It is getting serious.  A number of Allied units are having a difficult time pulling back.
The few remaining Panzer Divisions are still causing problems.

 May 31.
The German armour is getting close to Dunkirk.

 June 1.
Phew!  All the German armour has now been withdrawn.  
The German infantry has been ground down.  Units have continued to be evacuated...

 June 2.
This was a disaster of a turn as the Allied left flank collapsed,
 positioning the Germans next to the evacuation beaches.

June 3.
However, by the next day, the Allies had been able to evacuate enough units to be able to claim Victory.

This was an excellent tense little WW2 game covering quite a different aspect of the war.  Air and naval power is all abstracted, and the mechanics are the classic move/combat sequence alternating between players with units rated for attack, defence and movement.  Elegant and very engaging.