Monday, March 25, 2019

Ardennes'44 via Vassal Day One and Two

When Richard and I started playing this it was very confusing, not the game system, but the interplay of the counters and the map and more importantly the strategic situation of the two sides.  I was trying to resist playing this game solo using Vassal (it is a great thief of time), but Vassal and this game are so elegant that I couldn't resist for long.

I am also trying to come up with a better way of depicting progress using the images, which are much easier to capture on the computer than with the camera.

Morning December 16th

The 7th Army, on the left of the front, made only modest progress.
What progress it did make it paid for in constant losses.

The 5th Panzer Army in the centre made good gains, 
lead by the 2nd Panzer Division towards Clervaux (top left of image) 
and the 116th Panzer towards St Vith.
Bottom right shows the US 106th almost surrounded.

The 6th Panzer Army on the right flank, made solid gains,
but needs to clear those woods to allow the SS Panzer Corps to get into action.

Afternoon and night December 16th

In the afternoon solid progress was made by the 7th Army.

In the centre, the three panzer divisions of the 5th Panzer Army have all advanced.

The 26th VG Division and the 2nd Panzer 
have now passed the initial Army area of operation. 
(This image sets on top of the previous image).

6th Panzer Army on the right now have their tanks forward.

Morning December 17th

This image is trying to present the big picture.
Formations to watch have been circled.
From left to right they are 5th Fallschirmjager, 26th Volksgrenadier, 2nd Panzer, Panzer Lehr and 116th Panzer.

Afternoon December 17th

5th FJ captured Diekurch and Ettelbruk for the 7th Army (blue line).
5th Panzer Army has made extensive gains (black line),
 although it has a few stubborn pockets to mop up (yellow highlight).
6th Panzer Army made dismal progress (red line).

Things that are making a bit of a difference is better use of the night turn, particularly night infiltration; immediate use of strategic movement to bring on reinforcements; and low level combats (2:1) that really hang on luck.  So far the German luck has not been good with many combats and firefights resulting in Engaged outcomes.

This game requires a lot of care to play correctly.  I'm finding Vassal really helps.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Ardennes'44 - Day 4 and 5

The bulge keeps expanding...

 End of the morning, Day 4.

 The end of the afternoon, day 4.

 Day 5 starts with fuel shortages.

 The end of the morning of Day 5.

The end of the afternoon, Day 5.
The Germans are now halfway across the map,
but is it the high water mark?

There will be a break of about two weeks before Richard and I can resume.  Meanwhile I have started playing this game on Vassal.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Battle of Bulson - Take Two

This is a repeat of the game we played just over a month ago (see AAR and background in this post).  This time I went German, with Simon, who provided just about everything, going French.

 I decided to attack immediately.
I'm not sure this was a good move, 
but it did provoke the French to counterattack.

 I then decided to wait for reinforcements,
Grossdeutschland and the medium tank companies of the two Panzer divisions.

 2nd Panzer launches an attack on the left.

 While Grossdeutschland and 1st Panzer attack on the right.
I had saved things up and then did multiple attacks hoping to overwhelm the defenders.

 It took two turns each of multiple impulses, 
but the massed attacks proved successful.

It was certainly helped by throwing four sixes in a row, 
although my last attack would have been a success no matter what the dieroll.

Another excellent game of Rommel using one of the scenarios from

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Holland'44 via Vassal - Part 4

Morning September 21st

The weather is ... clear!

11th Armoured is now just mopping up.

US paratroopers have dropped behind the Germans which should halt their offensive.
The 43rd Division is now engaged in driving back the German counterattack on Grave.

Lead elements of 30th Corps have almost reached Arnhem.

The Germans launch a series of desperate attacks.
They inflict losses, but are unable to take the critical locations.

Afternoon September 21st

The mopping up continues south of the Maas.

Allied troops cross the Rhine.

At this stage the Allies have the required 10 Victory Points to enable then to claim automatic victory.  The Germans have one more chance to retake Arnhem.

The final desperate attacks.
The 3:1 in Arnhem just resulted in Engaged, which would stop the Allies' ability to reinforce.
The 1:1 nearby came very close to success, causing two step losses as a desperate defence was conducted to hold that important bridge.

Wow this was an exciting game, very balanced.  The Germans have just got to keep attacking and the Allies just have to keep moving forward.  Fascinating mix of blocking and brute force bashing.

It also played really well solo and on Vasal.  Brilliant!

I played carefully, always checking the rules if I had any doubt.  I might have been over generous with the road bonus for advance after combat as there is a limit of one unit that can use this per road.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Auerstadt 6x4 Redux

This was a repeat of the January game, but with the revised Prussian OOB.  This time James from the ANF joined us as the French commander while Stephen took command of the Prussians.  My aim was to umpire, but I ended up taking responsibility for the Prussian Second Division, so I was a playing umpire and as the action intensified the photos sadly ceased,

Luckily James has provided a fabulous AAR in this post on the ANF blog.  Thanks James!

 Set up.  Unfortunately I forgot to put on the Prussian Second Division.
I had put too much effort into getting Blucher to fit in his allotted space
 that I clear forgot there were yet more Prussians to put on.

 Blucher is starting to try and out flank, rushing his fusiliers forward.
The Prussian Third Division is moving across the brook on the Prussian right.
Meanwhile Davout has brought up his cavalry and Friant's Division.

 Around this time I realised the Prussian Second Division was missing.
A few calculations and I decided to try them out with a flank march on the left.
Units in march column take up a lot of space (as it should be).
The benefit is they stay in command.

 There is Wartensleben directing his troops to use the sneaky sideways move to cross the brook.
(The brooks are just strips of rough ground, fordable, and so the sensible thing to do is march parallel, and then move sideways across.  It still takes time, but is much more efficient.  The thing to remember is that these are brigade formations and so for individual components to face right, cross and then reform would be no big deal, within a turn representing 30 minutes).

 Even having successfully crossed, it is still taking time for the Prussians to deploy on their left.
Blucher has been busy but without success.
On their right, top middle of the image, the Prussian third division is slowly advancing.
The Prussian first division has now arrived and their Reserve Corps has also entered.

 Another exciting, but inconclusive cavalry charge.

This was the situation as we broke for lunch.
The French have successfully deployed.
The Prussians are just about in position to launch simultaneous attacks.

And that is what happened.  However all the Prussian attacks met with disaster.  In part this was because the Prussians failed to produce any combined arms attacks, attacked in column rather than line and their artillery fire had failed to achieve any ascendency over the French defenders of Hassenhausen.

At about the halfway point in the game, the Prussians were halfway to their break point, but the lost units were still all able to be rallied.  Unfortunately we had run out of time.

I'm tempted to look at the deployment options and stage the game at my place as the battle certainly does provide an exciting scenario.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

The First to Fly the Coop

I'm an only child and my parents thought it would be a good idea to give away my toys if I didn't use them regularly.  Either that or them having grown up in the Great Depression and then lived through WW2 and the rationing aftermath made them quite frugal which has rubbed off on me.  As a consequence I now horde everything and give nothing away.  So when I do it is special.

 Thunderbolt, probably made this in the last thirty years, possibly a bit older.
I remember Atlantic City was a trigger having seen the movie (which has nothing to do with US warplanes I might add, I just liked it and Susan Sarandon)

 Pretty sure this dates from my teens back in the 1970s.

Both of these planes have been despatched to Julian of the ANF.

These poor chaps have been languishing since October 2014.
They have now found a good home with James of the ANF.
This image is dreadfully blurry, 
but better ones exist in posts under the Waterloo 1815 label

Holland'44 via Vassal - Part 3

Night September 19th

 It might be a distraction, but 11th Armoured are making progress.
Helmond is a victory city and there are two victory locations further to the east.

 The yellow line high lights the Guards Division's race for Nijmegen.
The red line is the alternative supply route for the 82nd.

The 82nd have a good hold on the Betuwe.

Morning September 20th

The morning starts off overcast, but is expected to improve to just cloudy by the afternoon.  This means the desperately needed paratrooper reinforcements will only trickle in late in the day.

The German counterattack against the 11th Armoured has been beaten off.
On the otherside of the corridor the 50th Division are having a quiet time.

The Guards Division are closing in on the Germans now blocking the way to Nijmegen.

The Allied forces north of the Waal are out of supply,
but they have been able to link up with the troops over the Rhine.

Afternoon September 20th

The 43rd Division is racing north.
The 11th Armoured pressing east.

The overcast weather allowed four paratrooper units to drop and reinforce the 82nd Airborne.
These helped the Allies recover Grave and reopen the road to Nijmegen.  Phew!

But in Arnhem the Germans have tightened the noose,
recapturing part of the city and driving back the British paras to the west.

Night September 20th

Down at Eindhoven the way is clear for further reinforcements to rush north.
The 11th Armoured continues to push east.

At Grave the situation has been recovered and the 43rd Division is about to cross the Maas.
It has been held up by traffic jams along the way.
Nijmegen itself came under threat, but enough troops and supplies have got through to at least stabilize the situation. 

But in Arnhem things are dire.

The weather for the next day will be critical.  Clear weather would see the Polish paratroopers arriving, which would be a major boost for the defenders of the bridgehead across the Rhine.