Saturday, March 30, 2019

Ardennes'44 via Vassal Day Three and Four

Morning December 18th

The two images don't quite align, but the extent of the German advance can be seen.
The US airborne troops are being trucked in,
but Bastogne has fallen.

Afternoon December 18th

 Desperate attacks of the 5th Panzer Army

Desperate attacks of the 6th Panzer Army.

 An attempt to show the "big picture"

Same image, but without the scribble.

The 7th Army (left flank)

The 5th Panzer Army (centre).
Their attacks met with some success.

The 6th Panzer Army (right flank)
Limited success.

This turn is Game Turn 6 and the Germans would win the short scenario as they currently hold 10 Victory Points worth of locations (the red outlined hexes).  But I'm playing the campaign game...

Morning December 19th

 The 5th Panzer Army is suffering fuel shortages.
Its attacks mostly produced engaged results.

The 6th Panzer Army's attacks just produced engaged results, but at the cost of some losses.

Afternoon December 19th

The 7th Army receives reinforcements and renews the attack.

 5th Panzer Army is bogged down with fuel shortages.

6th Panzer army batters away,
it had more success this time.

The big picture at the end of the day.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Nikephorian Byzantines versus Empire of Nicea

Last night it was time for my Byzantines to face Olivier's Imperials again (the previous battle had been on 1 November last year).

 Deployment.  I had the advantage as attacker.

 We both pushed our skirmishers into the woods on our respective right flanks.

 The bow fire from my legions has immediate effect.

 Now things start to get interesting.
I just love the maneuverability of light cavalry.

 The enemy knights charge, running down some of my archers.
Meanwhile note that unlike my skirmishers, the enemy's are lost in the wood.

 How can my side fail when it is carrying an icon of Saint Zoe?

 The enemy knights are not doing that well against my legions
and it is about to get a lot worse for them...

 They survive the discipline test after taking casualties for being struck in the rear.
I play the Betrayal card.  It worked last time I fought them.
But no, this time they again throw a 1.  Grrr!

However their time was up and a charge by my general caused their demise.

At this point poor Olivier conceded.  I must admit I had been reasonably lucky, getting the hits when I needed them, and I had the skills (as in I knew the rules).  But it was all down to my Byzantines and Saint Zoe.

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.