Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Byzantine Cavalry - Completed

With this post I can now say all my Byzantine figures have been completed.  Possibly a first for me - a totally completed project.  They will even be going into battle tonight.

 From the Tin Soldier Hellenistic range, but doing nicely for Skythians, 
especially after some minor conversion work on repositioning their aim.
Ever since starting to play with Impetus I've wanted to do a light cavalry base like this.

Apologies for the background, I thought the table cloth wasn't as patterned as it has turned out to be.

 Generic Kavallaroi, but yet to have their flag fitted.

 The Byzantine Greys, famous in my family for their shield pattern which was taken from a tea cup, that my daughter had brought home from work.

 These are the Byzantine Bays, with their special Archduke Piccolo lances.

 Some javelinmen converted from Tin Soldier Hellenistic range slingers.

And here is my Byzantine collection in one setting.  
Should provide plenty of options for fielding Basic Impetus 2.0 Byzantine related armies.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Tel El Eisa with Rommel

My third game with Rommel and a different scenario this time; lots of infantry with the Allies attacking.  Simon went the Allies as General Auchinleck (although maybe XXX Corps commander—Lieutenant-General William Ramsden is more accurate as he has the 9th Australian and 1st South African Divisions for the attack) and Stephen the Italians (as the ghost of General Giuseppe Tellera - I've been unable to find the name of the commander of the 60th Division during July 1942) with me being the German General Mellenthin. 

All the figures and terrain are mine, although the Italian infantry are wearing second hand German fallschirmjager uniforms and the Bersaglieri are wearing some US lend lease gear that fell into their hands, they also have a Crusader masquerading as an M14/40 (to counter the Allies that have a Matilda pretending to be a Valentine).  The beauty of playing a game with labels is you can get away with some "not strictly as depicted" units.

The scenario comes from the Rommel forum and can be found here.

The 1st South African deployed on the left and the 9th Australian (after a night march along the coast) deployed on the right, ready to storm the hills that have just seen an awesome artillery barrage that has left the poor Italians shaking.

Same picture, but I've marked on the objectives which are the key to the game.  The Allies must capture and hold three of them by the end of the game (each side has eight turns - representing a day).

 Even though shaken the Italians required all the might of the 9th to work them out of Objective 4.

 The South Africans were less successful against Objective 1.

 Kampfgruppe Mellenthin arrives to rescue the Italians holding out at Objective 1.

 Objective 2 was overwhelmed, but while attacked a few times, the Italians held on to Objective 3 (top left hand corner of the picture).

German reinforcements arrive to try and wrest back Objective 2.  They would have help from the 7th Bersaglieri, but by the time they were in position, the Allies had it well secured.

The battle is almost over and it is two Objectives each.  The Allies desperately need to capture Objective 1 (bottom right hand corner).  They come close, but then...

With his command dice exhausted Simon, who had been rolling good till now, gets only two out of six command dice.  He wasn't able to do much.  In a fit of rage he had the Australians holding Objective 4 attack an isolated Italian company.  So successful was their attack that they forget to leave troops to hold their original position and it was retaken by some other Italians, keen to reclaim their honor.

Kampfgruppe Mellenthin had secured the Axis hold on Objective 1, but the other counterattack, against Objective 2, failed even though three attempts were made.

Another exciting, tense game, were the challenge was to make command decisions and not have to fight the rules or do complicated calculations and debate measurements.

I love that it was an historical battle (part of the fighting during the First El Alamein).  The labels were a bit thinned down from previous game, but still quite large, although that does provide for unit's insignia to stand out.  Laminated, they are easy to mark using a Whiteboard marker and adhere well to models and bases with just a tiny bit of blu-tac.

It would be nice to give all the Objectives names.  Objective 2 is the El Alamein station.  At the game's scale, each 15cm square is kilometre, features are rather lost, although this has the benefit of it being easier to set up the game (not having to worry about modelling the terrain perfectly).

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Nikephorian Byzantines versus Later Andalusians

In this historical (could be) match for the club's Impetus League, things did not go my way - bigly!

Simon is my opponent.

 I had to deploy first and that has put me at a slight disadvantage.

 But I have decided to advance.
Disaster strikes and my right wing light cavalry are annihilated.
Three units shot at them, minimum dice, but two got hits.  
The first cohesion test was a 6 and the second a 5.  
Goodbye light cavalry.

 Turn three and my general is having to cover the right flank.
On the left I am busy skirmishing to keep the enemy in check.
My centre is continuing to advance.

 I should have easily swept those skirmishers away,
but no, they passed their cohesion test, twice!

 Turn four and and things are in the balance...

 Turn five and things have changed.
My general is locked in a life or death struggle with the Christian mercenaries.
While my centre is in a race to clear the enemy from their front before they find themselves flanked.
In a further unexpected disaster, my right wing infantry block
were rudely repulsed by the enemy skirmishers.

 Turn six and things are critical.

 Then the Christian mercenaries unleash a desperate charge 
(they must be getting paid really well).

Turn seven and it was all over.
The Andalusian cavalry had rolled up my centre,
and my general had died fighting the Christians.

It was a bloody battle.

And just to recap...

Monday, November 5, 2018

Wheels for the Western Desert

The beauty of keeping a blog is that I can look back and see when various things happened or started.  And so it is that I see I've been working on my 15mm WW2 Commonwealth North African collection for over six years.  Now finally, their transport has arrived.

 A trio of dingos, on the prowl for babies, eh Axis.

Morris AA tractors for my two Bofors.
Putting the wheels on these models was a bugger.
They just didn't fit - the total opposite of the precision work on Zvezda kits.

Brigadier JC "Jock" Campbell.
Couldn't resist this set. 

CMP 15cwt trucks.
I'm still thinking about this style of kit.
Nothing to assemble is a plus based on my experiences putting together the other kits in this post.
Inbuilt base... it is at least small and I should add a bit more detail, but I'd prefer not to have it.
Solid windows - definitely not sure I like this style.

 Morris 15cwt trucks, made them so I can detach the canopies for some variation.

 Marmon Herrington III in Cauntor.
The nice feature of this kit was the option to have the top hatches open,
this was a one piece casting, all you had to do was glue in the commander,
no fiddly tiny little hatches to try and position.

 Not a Battlefront kit, manufacturer unknown, but at least it is now ready for service on the tabletop.
It has the code number 551 etched into its base.

The swarm.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

In the Shadow of the Sword

A fascinating bit of history well covered in this book, but sadly let down by an overly familiar style and unnecessarily complex sentence structures.  I must have read some sentences three times or more before I understood what was meant.  I don't have that problem with most other books so an Anthony Beevor or Andrew Roberts Tom Holland is definitely not.  Pity, as the research is epic.

The subtitle is Battle for Global Empire and the End of the Ancient World.  The empires are not just those of the Romans, Sassanids and Arabs, but also Christian, Zoroastrian, Jewish and Islamic faiths.  I am sure some of the books observations would give many of the believers conniptions.

Mark B lent me this book because of my interest in Byzantine, an era of history I am not very familiar with.  So this book helped set the big scene, and a lot more.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Nikephorian Byzantines versus Empire of Nicea

Almost a Byzantine civil war.  In this game my opponent was Olivier playing his first Basic Impetus 2.0 game.  He had read the rules, but had failed to bring his dice and so was sharing mine.  He didn't stand a chance!

 I was the attacker which gave me an advantage in deployment,
and for a change there was a lot of terrain.
(a wood, an impassable marsh and a gentle hill)

 First turn and the Niceans hardly moved.
I sent my cavalry out to harass their knights.

 By the end of the second turn, skirmishing had just about commenced.

 Turn three saw the Stratiatoi (medium cavalry) covering the Nicean knights 
dealt a mighty storm of arrows and comprehensively fail their cohesion test.

 They were then charged by my Prokoursatores.

 The melee held up the enemy knights until...

 Finally I was able to play the Betrayal Ace in the Hole to devastating effect, turning a retreat into a rout and dealing devastating damage to the knights.

 Turn five and a rather ineffectual light shower of slings and arrows befell the enemy knights.
On the rest of the battlefield only a cautious advance had been made.

 The Nicean knights attempted to drive off their harassers.
They didn't succeed.

After more arrows and then two charges the cream of the Empire of Nicea was lapped up.

At this point Olivier had suffered enough and we ended the game.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Sidi Rezegh with Rommel - Take Two

Following on from the success of our last game (which was my first Rommel game) Simon and I replayed the Sidi Rezegh scenario again, this time swapping sides.  It was even more exciting and played even better and, although the Deutsches Afrika Korps was monstering the 7th Armoured Division, it still ended up being a close run thing.

 Straight up the 21st Panzer Division attempts to storm the first objective.

 They failed and the 7th Armoured were able to counterattack, 
giving the defending infantry time to dig in.
The black markers are used to show "tipped" units.

 The 21st Panzer keep attacking,
while on the left the 361st Schutzen Regiment have made their first attack on another objective.

 The 361st have success, while the 21st Panzer have surrounded their objective.  
There is about to be a vicious clash of armour with the newly arrived 22nd Armoured Brigade.

 It is now the end of the eighth turn and the 15th Panzer Division has arrived
 along with the British 4th Armoured Brigade.

 The 7th Armoured has deployed a mixed force to defend the centre objective.

 The fighting has been intense,
but the 21st Panzer have their objective completely surrounded.

 The 15th Panzer has immediately attacked the Honeys of 4th Armoured 
(yes I know they look like Matildas)

 All quiet in the central sector.

 But the 21st Panzer has taken its first objective and is now eyeing the next one.

 The initial attack is not very successful.

 But the 15th Panzer has the British on the run...

 Again the 21st attack, but are beaten off.

 However the 15th have destroyed the enemy and taken a third objective.
To win the DAK need to hold three of the objectives by the end of the game.

 The 7th Armoured is left holding one objective.

And narrowly fail to recapture one of the other objectives.

At the end, weight of numbers allowed to Axis to make repeated attacks at the expense of not using various tactics to get advantages in combat. 

The game provides plenty of opportunities for counterattacks, as well as movement and some nerve wracking decision making.  No measuring and only a single combat strength calculation make for an easy game that allows you to develop and implement plans giving the feeling of actually being in command and trying to outwit your opponent.