Sunday, January 16, 2022

Operation Suvarov - Take Two

Having only recently played this scenario (see AAR here) Simon and I swapped sides and gave it another go on our club's Saturday Games Day for this month.  It is a challenging game requiring lots of grit, especially in face of vagaries of a D6 combat system.

The only trouble I have with Rommel games is being able to take photos that do justice and tell a story.
Here we have the two Soviet Rifle Divisions about to start their attack towards the main urban area.
Okay, one house does not a city make, but use your imagination :-) 

Attacks go in on the right of the German position.
Pioneers start to clear a minefield.
Turns out Pioneers do not clear minefields.

This hill was the killing ground.
It first wrecked the 215th Rifle Division
and then the 45th Guards Tank Brigade.
The black smoke represents "tipped" units,
a Rommel term meaning used or spent.

A red pen was used to mark Soviet casualties.
Easy to see in the above image that they are starting to mount.

The fighting has been non stop,
but the Soviets are starting to run out of men.
The Germans have skillfully pulled back to save their manpower.

At the end of the day, the Germans still hold that hill!

In the centre the German withdrawal allowed the Soviets to take the urban area.

It is only on the left (the German right) where there was a modicum of success.

The Gods of War.

While tough for the Soviets, it is no picnic for the Germans.  Certainly worth playing again (especially now we know the minefields can't be cleared).

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Carthaginians versus Middle Republic Rome

An historical match up from the Punic Wars.  Simon's new Romans take on my seasoned Carthaginians.

Romans won the scouting and all the subsequent initiative rolls.
This was going to prove to be a tough game for my army.

We advance

We get ready to charge

The Gauls fighting for the Romans got a very bloody nose taking on some Libyan javelin-men.
Elsewhere the Carthaginians came off second best, not the best place to be in a two sided fight.

Respective left wings crumble along with part of the centre.
The Carthaginians have their Spanish foot and Numidian light cavalry still fresh
 and ready to engage the enemy.

In what was expected to be a victory for the Spanish,
the dice Gods decided otherwise.
This left the Gauls who had turned around ready to take the Roman centre in the rear a bit exposed.

If the Carthaginians can get the initiative they can still win.

But no.
The Carthaginians have consistently thrown low,
passing Cohesion tests with ease, but slowly dying all the same.

The End!

Wednesday, January 12, 2022


Today Richard and I tried out the GMT game Reds!, a simulation of the Russian Civil War.

It started off predictably enough in anything that was not a predictable game system.
Units activate by Front or Faction, combat resolution is ratio and significant modifier and supply is only one hex and you are not allowed to move a unit out of supply!

We played till the end of WW1.
As the Red player I had done well against the southern and eastern White factions,
but had been surprised by the sudden appearance of the Northwest Whites coming out of the Baltic States.

Sunday, January 9, 2022

World in Flames - FB 50

Finally get fine weather and the turn ends, but then we win the initiative and get fine weather for the start of November/December 1944.  Better late than never!

A great start for the Axis and huge disappointment for the Allies as they lose the initiative again, at least a re-roll was demanded by the GERM and the initiative now goes to +1 Allies who will win ties and no Axis reroll. Worse S/O news for the Allies as that the weather roll is a 9 for storm in the Artic and N Monsoon and rain everywhere else including the Med, advancing by 2.
Axis 1st impulse sees GERM and Italy (no cost oil) take a land action and Japan declare a combined. Japanese subs attempt to search four sea areas and find in two, sinking one US Conv and damaging a French Conv – both combatants rolled a 1! She sailed the Kido Butai fleet into the Sea of Japan to secure supply and the air-sea gap to Korea. A Japanese AMPH picks up the last Japanese HQ from Korea and he lands in Japan – possibly to lead the attack against the US occupation forces in Osaka. No other action as the weather prohibits movement on the Pacific map. In the East the GERM continues his withdraw in central E Poland leaving behind a Yugo and GERM Mil. In Konigsberg the Yugo HQ is left behind with a 7.4 MTN to guard the capital as any movement out of the city will flip it, so they stay. The line consolidates behind the Vistula River and Warsaw but in central E Poland there are holes developing as the GERM simply do not have reinforcements to fill the line, and the Carpathian Mountain ranges remain almost ungarrisoned. In the West Axis force consolidate behind the River Seine and a solitary 7 INF is left in the Mountains North of Lyon to slow the US advance in the rain. Several GERM Gar/Mil are railed to Italian city hexes to bolster the Italian resolve to keep fighting. Hitler supplies Mussolini with a handpicked SS guard to ensure his fellow dictator’s commitment to the cause. Turn end advances another 2!
Allied 1st Impulse and the CW and France takes a Naval, the US a land, and China an air. Chinese Ftr fly a patrol in the China Sea and the US fly a 9 factor Ftr into the Sea of Japan to remove presence and dominate the air, he fails his search for the Japanese CVPs. French CAs help escort Allied convoys, their Tpt arrives in the Bay of Biscay with another US reinforcements and the French 8 Ftr patrols off the coast of Italy. CW fleets head out to sea, Force H and Z, loaded with MECH from Egypt sail into the E MED, and the Home fleet, take the well-travelled path into the North Sea. CAs cover the Allied Convoys and CW Tpts deliver reinforcing land units into Greece to contest the token border defenders (2.4 Cav) and threaten Bulgaria and Albania, further stretching Axis defensive lines. Russia declares an O-Chit on GEN Rokossovsky HQ (9 O-Points) to launch an attack against Konigsberg in the rain – TOTT roll and the Yugoslav HQ is eliminated as is the 7.4 MTN (cadre). Russian units advance taking the first GERM city of the game. In E Poland two attacks against the rear-guard Yugo and GERM MIL overwhelm the defenders at 10:1 odds – Russian units advance. A very dangerous situation is developing as the hole in the defensive line in Central E Poland is widened as Soviet units advance into the Carpathian Mtns to outflank GERM/Rom positions.
The US Land sees an attack against the 7.4 GERM Inf defending the Mtn Hex North of Lyon, even doubled and in rain it is eliminated for a half invert as the attack led by Clark did not quite make TOTT. US forces advance in France occupying the empty hex or two vacated by withdrawing Axis forces. The Allies now have three hexes against Paris, albeit on the wrong side of the River Seine but a US O-Chit could make the difference – just need a couple of inversions and some fine weather. No EOT roll - advances another 2!
Axis 2nd impulse, no fine weather as another ‘assisted’ roll is an 8+1 (9) delivers the same weather as the 1st impulse,storm in the Artic and N Monsoon and rain everywhere else including the Med, advancing the EOT by 2. GERM take a land, Italy a no cost land and Japan a paid Naval. PTO the Japanese sail both their fleets into the Sea of Japan to guarantee their supply to Korea and give their CVP some opportunities. GERM and Italy send additional MIL to garrison Italian factories and shore up the defensive line on the outlying Toronto hexes on the toe of Italy. Paris is reinforced with a 10.5 SS joining an 11.5 MECH, there are now 26 factors in Paris. On the Russian front further withdrawals to better defensive positions occur, although the rain limits GAR units from moving without flipping. A conservative and defensive turn sees no attacks as acft are rebased back to defensive positions. Manstein reinverts the valuable 10 Factor ftr and three land units in France that had been inverted by US GS. Turn does not end and advances another 2, Allies can end the turn if they roll 1!
Allied 2nd Impulse, The CW takes a land the US a Naval/Land so it can sail its navy and still keep the pressure on the Axis front lines. France takes a combined and China an air to rebase acft. Russia takes a Land/Air as the recent Axis withdrawals have placed most of its Ftrs and 2 Land bombers out of range, so they all need to be rebased. In the PTO the US fleet sails into the Sea of Japan to hunt the remnants of the IJN – both nations fail their searches, both rolling both 7s – no one is surprised. China attempts a strategic bombing on Korea but are aborted as their escorting ftr is shot down by Japanese ‘elite pilots’ on an 18. Nationalist Chinese acft rebase to Siam in preparation for OFOPS against Japan’s former ally. In the ETO US reinforcements arrive in France and the Med, aircraft attempt GS have some success in the rain, Luftwaffe interceptors are active and shoot down another US Atk bomber with another handy 18. The Italian 9 factor is not so lucky, and it is shot down over friendly territory as its pilot survives to fight on. US strategic bombing is relatively effective shutting down 5 Axis factories, even in the rain. The US moves units towards Paris and occupy another vacated hex of France. The US TF17 sails and embarks the Marines from Italy and land several British units in Greece.
The British Expeditionary forces in the Med advance into Yugoslavia and Bulgaria and attack the solitary 2.3 MIL in Bulgaria, advancing and capturing the Bulgarian resource and cutting off the Turkish resource - two less resources for the Axis. The US Marines land adjacent to Tirana and assault its Territorial garrison supported by US SB and air – the take the city on a +8.7 with a TOTT roll seizing the city before the 7.1 Italian GAR arrives – there will be no Italy fighting on in this game. There was risk in this attack as a natural 6 would have seen all the attackers wiped out on the dreaded ‘squiggly 14’ and failing to take the city – but the dice gods were kind to the US. Side note Tirana was historically captured on the morning of November 17, 1944, so very close to the historical.
On the Russian front, Russian advances into vacated hexes and then followed up with three attacks against mostly Axis minor units with mixed results, another Hungarian MOT Inf and Yugoslavian INF are eliminated despite being in the mountains, but in the South the Romanian defensive line held as both sides take a single loss. The air war in the East went to the Axis this time with the Soviet air force losing 3 acft to 1, mostly to rolls of 18 – the Luftwaffe’s favourite number this impulse. With the loss of only 1 ftr this turn the GERM air-force has a much needed respite, repair and rebuild phase. Nervously the Allies roll for the EOT, Stalin sighing with relief as he rolls well above the mandatory 1 that they expected to roll. EOT advances by turn and can now end on a 3.
Axis 3rd impulse – weather roll 3 +1 (4) – fine everywhere! The Allies get excited to potentially have a fine and start to plan and plot multiple super combines and what objectives they will attack. GERM takes a land and direct by stern telegram that Japan and Italy both pass giving a +1 to the EOT Roll from 3 to 4. GERM on the Russian Front steps back to the Vistula River and the Carpathian Mountains, with few German units in Rumania and none in Bulgaria Hitler is leaving them to their own fate of bad weather and low Russian attack rolls as the defence of the greater Reich now takes precedence. In Warsaw the 6 RR arty barks and inverts two Russian units on the front line, again no GS airstrikes as the Axis are restrained and are hoping to build up their air forces by avoiding air combat as they have taken a battering over the last two turns.
… and yes, GERM rolls the EOT with a 3! The Axis trifecta achieved again, 1 – winning the initiative, 2 - bad weather and 3 only two Allied impulses!
Partisans – the Marquis turn up in the forests of Strasburg but elsewhere little activity. Rebase, productions and reinforcements – the USA declare they are lending the CW 10 BPs to increase their O-Point build in preparation for the final 1945 ‘run home’.
A great start for the Axis and huge disappointment for the Allies as they lose the initiative again, at least a re-roll was demanded by the GERM as the Russian’s 9 was too high to beat, initiative now goes to +1 Allies winning ties. Really bad news for the Allies as the weather roll is a 9 for storm in the Artic and N Monsoon and rain everywhere else, advancing by 2 for the first two impulses. The Axis have yet again another short bad weather turn – 1944 is rapidly disappearing like the good weather rolls. Ending the J/A turn early and winning the S/O initiative has saved the Axis game as they would have struggled to survive a longer fine weather J/A and/or the Allies going first in S/O in fine weather -neither occurred. The two ‘9’ bad weather roll was a godsend for Italy, as rain in the Med also saved Italy from certain capitulation and will possibly keep her in the game into 45. With an 80% chance of fine weather in S/O, Italy was more than likely to have been forced to surrender as all that is needed is a single factory to be taken (or Rome) and loss of the garrison count.
On the plus side for the Allies, the Axis resources are becoming scarce as they are gradually being retaken by the Allies as they advance, compounded by the successful strategic bombing, the Axis capacity to wage war is gradually being eroded. Rumania is a concern for the GERM, there are simply no reinforcements arriving and although the Russian advance is slow there are no reinforcing units to fill the void. With the W Allies landing in Greece and advancing into Bulgaria the days of these two Axis Allies are very much numbered. The capacity of the Axis to sustain combat operations will be hampered as the Rumanian oil will be cut off and then soon be in Russian hands. The Advances into Bulgaria have already cost the GERM the Turkish and the Bulgarian resources. A significant bonus for the Allies is the capture of the Albanian capital of Tirana, with its loss Italy will not have a viable alternative Capital, having said that the mere fact that with all the SEP rain Italy will survive into 45 that bonus is less important. The Axis still control 19 Victory Cities and only need 10 to win the game with only 5 turns to go – they will lose Italy and certainly Warsaw to the Russians as well as well as Paris to the US at the cost of O-Points which the Allies have plenty.
In the Far East the Korean capital could possibly fall to Russian aggression (once the pact is broken) leaving only Tokyo in Japanese hands. The Allies need to capture an average of 2 victory cities per turn to win the game, if they only capture 1 per turn they will lose, and it will be an Axis Victory. Should be an interesting contest with the advantage significantly with the Allies – but the weather and EOT rolls in the hands of the fickle dice Gods!
In stark contrast to S/O, N/D sees relief for the Allies and a disappointment for the Axis as they lose the initiative despite the GERM winning the first roll. Stalin wasn’t having none of that and demanded a re-roll which he won much to his surprise! The initiative now goes back to +1 Allies, and then the miracle as Stalin rolls a 2 for the weather – finally fine everywhere, the irony not lost on anyone with fine weather turning up on the first winter turn. Any fine weather is bad news for the GERM and worse when they don’t have the initiative, at least they had the last impulse in S/O so at least the Axis line is not as vulnerable if the Allies had ended the last turn as well.
Allies’ 1st Impulse – with fine weather and an accumulation of O-Points the Allies go ballistic spending 77 O-points – CW and the US take ‘Super Combine’ – Naval, Air and Land. The CW also declare an air offensive directed by Montgomery (11 pts), the US declare Nimitz (13 pts) to lead a land offensive to take Paris. Russia takes an Air/Land and declares a land offensive by Yeremenko (11 pts) to lead the assault against Warsaw. The combined CW and US fleets sail into the Italian Coast embarking Marines, DIVs and Mech units with plans to invade Italy, in the North Sea TF17 and the Home Fleet and TF11 sail into the N Sea and embark Marines, INF and Mot units with plans for an invasion of Germany, Holland or Belgium. In the PTO the Pacific Fleet (much reduced) sails into the Japanese Sea and TF58 sails into the China Sea – challenging the IJN to ‘come and fight’ in either sea zone or be port struck – weather permitting. Allied convs are escorted and Tpts arrive from the US loaded with US acft and equipment – an early Christmas for the Allies.
The session finished after the Allies have taken their Naval phase – see photos. Next week massed air as the CW, US and Russia have taken Air actions so the Strat bombing and GS phase will be severe for GERM as their factories will be targeted as well as their front-line units and HQs, with a focus on the units defending Paris and Warsaw which will receive special attention in the unseasonably fine weather.
* ETO and PTO European Theatre of Operations and Pacific Theatre of Operations

Losses for the S/O turn low losses for all this turn - two impulse turn in bad weather will do that - No fine weather in S/O

North Sea invasion of the low lands is on the cards with the bonus clear weather and the initiative

France - Paris is likely to fall with the unseasonal fine weather and two Ochits spent

Mainland Italy under threat

The two obvious invasion sites on mainland Italy - Mussolini goes into hiding

Allied Naval supremacy - dominating the Italian Coast

The Russian Front - holes appearing, especially in the South.

The Northern Front

Yeremenko hand on chin planning the assault on Warsaw

The Southern Front - the Axis Allies looking very uncomfortable with gaping holes forming and few reo's.

Japan - the two US fleets have sailed to challenge the IJN

Friday, January 7, 2022

Paths of Glory - it was over by the end of Summer 1915

After out first game and also since I've been playing this game solitaire on Vassal, I was keen to play Paths of Glory again.   This time I was the Central Powers and Richard the Allied Powers.

As per the historical scenario the AP had a successful attack on Liege/Sedan.  Moltke was then struck with indecision, but Falkenhayn soon put him right and this moved the Central Powers to Limited War (which brings in Turkey, but I didn't realise this till later).  Russia attacked Tarnopol, the Germans created the Sud Army (although weren't ready to put it into effect).  Austria-Hungary attacked Belgrade.  A significant battle occurred at Tannenberg which (in hindsight) took the wind out of any Russian offensives for the rest of the game.  The French used Paris taxis to rush troops to the front.

In September Ge attacked Lomza and Belfort while AH  launched a major assault against Serbia.  The Allies tried to gain the CP's attention by attacking Sedan and Liege.  Ru brought on their 9th and 10th armies, Fr made a first attempt to retake Belfort.  AP cried foul over the Rape of Belgium which the CP decried as fake news!

Fall 1914 Bulgaria enters the war.  Both the CP and AP raise new armies. Ge takes Warsaw, AH conquer Serbia and Albania.  The High Seas Fleet sorties and the AP implement a Blockade.

Winter 1914 Italy enters the war.  CP rush troops to the Italian border just in time.  Ge fails to make a mandatory attack.

Spring 1915 Ge use Chorine Gas on the Russian Front.  Phosgene gas is used by the AP on the Western Front.  Italy fails to make a mandatory attack.

Summer 1915 AH attacks in the Alps while Ge abandon Mulhouse which the Fr then occupy.  Italy makes a disastrous counterattack which is then exploited by AH.  Br has an equally disastrous attack at Liege.

This is the situation at the end of Summer 1915.  AP replacements had been allocated, but the VP marker not adjusted.  It should be around 15 or 16.  At this stage AH had achieved all its war goals and then some!  The Tsar is still on the throne but Britain has lost the BEF.  France and Germany can negotiate their border, and Poland?  Not sure how Russia can save face.

Very challenging game as things can develop quickly and a few bad outcomes can prove catastrophic if the forces are already worn down (as happened to Br and It).  

After this session it is fair to say Richard is not as enamoured with this game as I am.  I enjoy it as a game.  As a simulation of WW1, not sure and then did WW1 have to play out as it did?  Certainly area movement and card based make for a quiet different game to what we usually play.  


Athens versus Early Achaemenid Persians

An historical pairing for around 500BC.  This was my first serious Ancients army commenced in the mid 1980s using the Tin Soldier Hellenistic Range.  It faced Mark B's Persians.

So this is what my army looks like,
nice straight line :-)
The Persians out scouted the Greeks, no surprise there.
I decided against large units; I wanted frontage!

Hard to see, but there are two gentle hills.
One where the wood is and the other in the Persian centre.

Persian light cavalry has slipped round the Greek right,
while on the left the Persian skirmishers are getting in some close shots.
The main Greek line is shielded by its javelin armed skirmishers
and the slingers are about to deliver a knock out blow to the Persian light cavalry.

The clash of spears has not worked to the Greek's favour ,
but maybe the Gods are just being fickle.

The same point in the battle, but seen from the Persian side

The Persians have been pushed back, but at considerable cost.

Some of the Greek units have broken, but fresh troops are on their way.

The Persians are faltering...

And they break.

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Justinian Byzantine versus Middle Visigoth

An almost historical match up between Simon's Visigoth and my Byzantines (fielded using nearly all Old Glory figures).

In a strange twist the Visigoths saw the Byzantines first.
We both adopted somewhat spread-out. intermingled formations.

We then proceeded to shuffle about

The Byzantine light cavalry swamped one unit of Visigoth cavalry, opening up the right flank.

The Byzantine light cavalry took some casualties but pressed on.

One Byzantine legion in the centre is obliterated,
but on the Byzantine left things are holding up nicely,
giving the right time to swing round. 

The open right flank is proving ideal for the light cavalry,
but it is the second legion that is fighting superbly
(or rather the opposing Visigoths are not fighting so well - lotsa dice, no hits)

The Visigoths disintegrate.

Quiet a different game to my usual practice.  Normally I am very linear, as you will see in my next Basic Impetus game post.