Bolt Action - Game Report 9

Operation Striking Cobra - June 1944

Introduction

Well Michael did it again. He arranged an excellent days competition at Entoyment. This time we would be playing as two teams Allies vs Axis; 1000 points per army. I of course enrolled 9Pl 1 DOG into the allied force. 

However, for me the day did not get of to a stellar start. I arrived nice early, only to realise I had forgotten to pack my vehicles; a game without my Churchill MkVII oh calamity indeed. I had to hot foot all the way back home, and managed to turn up 15mins after H hr.

The first scenario was a new one devised by Michael.

Situation

The 7th Armd Division have been forced to retire from Villers Bocage. Corps HQ were deeply concerned about the danger of the Germans following up and exploiting their success. Bde HQ were given the mission of setting up a hasty defence to delay and if possible stop any German advance. 

CO 1 DOG has been ordered to hold the village of St Pere SW of Villers Bocage until ordered to retire. The situation remains fluid, and there is uncertainty about the degree of flank protection for this position. he has ordered 9Pl forward as an advance guard to hold the village while the rest of the battalion deploys.

Enemy Forces 

Signals Intelligence were tracking a German Panzer Grenadier force in the local area. Indications are that the commander of this force is Ober Leutnant Parry. This force is supported by tanks and recon vehicles.

Friendly Forces

9Pl had recently consolidated its veteran infantry into numbers 1 and 2 section. 3 Section were reinforcements from the battalion left out of battle troops. The CO had provided a sniper team, Mortar section and Bren carrier from Bn Support Company, and one of our FOOs. Division had allocated us a Churchill tank and an M5 Half Track.

Mission

9Pl is to secure and hold the village of St Pere.

Battle Report

The initial deployment started well. 3 Section in the half track deployed forward and occupied the large building. This would allow then to provide fire support to 1 and 2 section to the left and right respectively. 

Our artillery wasn't very effective, and did not cause any delay to the German advance. The Germans occupying the other building in the village were rapidly suppressed. On the left, on the other side of the river, my sniper team managed to provide some delay and disrupt the enemy advance. However, he was forced to withdraw rapidly when the enemy out flanked us on our left.

The German tank was a very unwelcome distraction. There was a fire fight with our Churchill, with the Churchill scoring a glancing hit. However, the enemy tank recovered quickly and its shooting was perfect as destroyed the Churchill and the M5 half track as it was moving to support the sniper team. 

The Panzer then attempted to overrun 1 Section. They stood there ground and allowed it to accelerate through them. I tried to launch an assault against the tank but was forced to take cover instead. 

On my right flank 2 Section advanced into the woods, from which the Mortar Section were firing. They advanced into the face of a German grenadier section armed with assault weapons and 2 Section perished to a man.

Outcome

A win for the Germans who secured 4 of the 6 objectives to my 2. 

However, the scenario was great fun and a must to be added to the Bolt Action mix.


Wars of the Roses - Game Report 1

Wars of the Roses - with flat figures

Introduction

My friend Dave decided to invest, and I do mean invest, in buying up a number of 18mm armies of plexiglass flat figures from Wofun. When you buy the set they come with a set of rules. Dave now has a number of periods which he can use, and best of all for him there is no painting involved. These may not be everyone's cup of tea, but they are relatively inexpensive and actually very presentable.

I have now played a couple of games via Zoom with Dave using the wars of the Roses figures and the house rules with some minor modifications that Dave has brought to the rules. I thought that it would be instructive to share the battle report that Dave prepared after the battle. 

A big thank you to Dave for allowing me to share his report! Comments in italics are my own observations!

Terrain

The table was 5’wide x4’ deep, this gave 6 sectors

The random terrain selected was:

I selected quite a small area of woodland and keep the terrain towards the edges of the battlefield except the Medium gentle hill, which was placed towards the centre of the table.  The wood was placed on my table edge, the boggy ground on the table end half way up the table. Colin had the option of moving 1 piece of terrain within its sector and chose to move the woods to the centre of the table!  Even now I’m not sure he knows why? (Dave, I have to confess I am having a bit of a blind spot to terrain selection and options at the moment, just see my recent ADLG game at the London Grand Tournament!)

Armies

Deployment

The Yorkist Army Deployed, Stanley’s vanguard took the centre ground, Montague deployed on the right and Scrope on the left. 

The picture of the Lancastrian forces is too indistinct, they must have deployed in the morning mist!

The Opening Moves

The Lancastrians advanced their right with a view to overwhelming the enemy left before their centre and right could intervene. Skirmishers were sent forwards into the woods.   Montague advanced his right toward the area between the wood and boggy ground; this broke up his battle line and the ground seems to prove difficult at times as several units fell into disorder during the advance. 

The Yorkist archers and handgunners were sent forward towards to the woods where they were quickly engaged in a skirmish with the Lancastrians.  

As the centre and right of the Somerset’s force closed on the Yorkist line there was the usual exchange of bow fire in which the Lancastrian bowmen gradually gained the upper hand.

In the centre the skirmishing archers were chased off by the javelin men; Stanley ordered forward his Men at Arms into the woods to attack them, but they refused to move; he repeated the order and still they refused, so eventually bow fire was opened on them and the javelin men withdrew behind Roos.    The leftmost body of Yorkist archers, having fired off a few shots at Roos’ advancing line, to little effect, were now withdrawn behind the line and sent to counter the crossbowmen which had outflanked the Yorkist line.

Battle Joined

Somerset’s men at arms came forward against the left of Scrope’s line which, weakened by bow fire, were forced back and became disordered as they tried to recoil into the archers behind them.  Charged again, the bowmen broke, leaving the men at arms to face those of Somerset. 

In the Centre of the line Roos’ bowmen opened a heavy fire on the Yorkist units to their front. This induced Stanley to launch an attack with this billmen, which was repulsed (draw, both sides backed off).  Stanley brought his remaining troops across, together with some of Montague’s that had become separated from their own wing; this had now advanced beyond the woods and was out of sight.  Here Montague’s men came within range of Percy’s line which opened fire on them.  Montague halted and returned the fire.

On the other flank things were starting to look difficult for Scrope; many of his units had suffered from the continued bow fire and his left was under pressure and could soon crumble.  To his right Stanley had made no headway and the centre of the Lancastrian line under Roos looked in good shape.  Scrope had his bowmen release their final arrows and then led forward his strongest unit of Billmen against the left of Somerset’s division.  This attack smashed into Somerset’s line which recoiled and then broke.  

The bowmen to their right, fighting behind their men at arms, panicked and turned on their heels.  Somerset, close by, attempted to stem the rout, but to no avail.  Some reports say he fled with them, others that he was knocked over and stunned in the confusion, and was then carried from the field by his retainers.  Whatever the truth, the effect was the same; the whole of Somerset’s command, Leaderless and perhaps fearing they would be cut off, turned and fled. 

Although Roos and Percy were still in good shape, the Lancastrians decided to quit the field in good order. 

Losses

Outcome

This was an extremely enjoyable game, with lots of issues on both sides.  

I think it will spark one rules change: troops recoiling and whose route is blocked only by skirmishers that are not engaged in hand to hand combat will just push the skirmish unit(s) back rather than suffering disorder. Other troops will continue to prevent recoil /withdrawal and cause disorder.

This battle had similarities of my last game, where the enemy had difficulty in getting their right flank engaged in the battle.  On that occasion I was fortunate in being able to capitalise on this and defeat their left; on this occasion the spirited charge by Scrope, perhaps an act of desperation, turned the tables. (Hardly desperation, rather a calculated risk, even though I dare say so myself! One has to come up lucky on the dice at some time, why not then)  The history books are full of such examples. 






ADLG - Game Report 28

Early Achaemenid Persians(64) vs Athenian Greeks (60)

At the LGT I purchased a very nice wargaming mat; actually it was 4 by 6 so there was enough for me to have a mat and one for Adam. Therefore, when Dave proposed another Zoom game it was an excellent opportunity to 'blood' the mat.

We decided on a classical Athenians vs Persians battle, with him taking the Greeks and me with the Persians.

For terrain Dave chose the coastline (need to get one as the river doesn't quite make the grade). He had nice secure flanks. For my part I deployed my Infantry heavy Corps on the right and centre, leaving my cavalry on the left looking for an opening. I was attacking.

I decided that I need to get my shots in with my bows from my infantry and cavalry as soon as I could. 

In the first round of shooting I had clearly failed to issue any archers with any arrows, with negligible impact on the Greeks! Dave has deployed his hoplites in two ranks, this would turn out to be a fortuitous decision.

After evading from the hoplite advance, this time the Persian cavalry have forsaken their bows and accepted the combat when challenged by the hoplites moved into contact. On the right one of my Sparaba has managed to destroy a hoplite unit in contact where as my Immortals are not faring well, losing one and two of the others suffering damage.

In the centre the Persian cavalry have done well against the hoplites, being elite and armoured helped as did some better than average combat dice.

On the left there is some ineffective sparring going on between the light troops in the rough ground. While my cavalry are feeling out engaging the Thracian and Peltast flank guard.

Elements of the second line of hoplites are now in contact and the Persian infantry are a little worse for wear. However in the centre the elite Persian guard cavalry are braking through, and preparing to roll up the Greek line.

The Thracian flank guard is outperforming itself despite being outflanked, and attacked in the rear. In the rough ground the Persian light troops are losing ground against the Greek light cavalry.

Outcome

At that point Dave conceded as he could see the way the battle was going. We both felt that the infantry battle came out as we would have expected, albeit with slightly more hoplite losses than we would have expected. 

However, the Persian cavalry did rather better than we thought they should have done by receiving a charge. The hoplites do not have their +1 benefit from spears against cavalry when they charge, despite this being an appropriate tactic for the period. Something for the greater gods of the rules to consider. In this case the fact that the Persian Cavalry were elite and armoured also had some impact on the outcome. 

Lessons Learnt

  • There is certainly a benefit in keeping troops in the second line as an immediate reserve.
  • I guess at some point even bow armed troops, such as the Persian Cavalry, have to risk it and come into contact to try to win the battle.
  • I think I will dispense with the Levy and go for a fortified camp in the future.

Bolt Action - Game Report 8

Operation Hatton – August 1944

Introduction

Prior to the forthcoming Bolt Action tournament, Kevin Parry invited me over to his war room to practise with our BA forces. I decided to deploy a similar, but not identical, force to the one I would use in the tournament.

Situation

The Battalion Commander laid out the situation for me. Divisional intelligence had identified a German forward headquarters which needed to be destroyed. This headquarters was controlling all the forces east of the river Orne. Its destruction would hamper the Germans to respond to forthcoming operations to secure Caen.

Enemy Forces

As far as we could determine from aerial reconnaissance German forces were likely to be light. However, we detected what looked like a newly painted Panzer IV or Tiger tank in the vicinity.

Friendly Forces

The CO provided OC 9Pl with additional support for this operation. He secured from the Divisional engineer regiment a Wasp flamethrower and a M5 halftrack. he also contributed from battalion resources a 6lb anti-tank gun and a mortar team.

Mission

9 Pl 1 DOG is to destroy the enemy headquarters at grid NC675184

Combat Report

The FOO and the Mortar Fire Controller deployed early into the westerly of the two buildings on the High Street. This gave them ample visibility both northeast and southeast. I deployed with one and two sections on the south side of the main road. I gave the mortar section orders to set up to the rear of the westerly building. The Wasp was to deploy with them until we found a suitable target for it. On my left out of view I deployed the anti-tank gun with its Bren gun carrier to secure my vital ground.

The Germans counterattacked quickly. They were determined to stop my men reaching their objective. They committed at least two sections their tank and their recce vehicle to counteract my advance. For my part I managed to pin down his section that was advancing on my left to my own vital ground.

Number 1 section were in serious trouble. The tank was inflicting heavy casualties with its machine guns, and an enemy pioneer section equipped with flamethrowers was closing on its position. Number 2 section who was supposed to advance on the right were pinned down by German spandaus and failed to advance.

Sgt Browne VC (awarded posthumously for this action) Decided to seize the initiative. He ordered his Wasp forward to outflank the Panzer IV. On his first attempt to fire the flame failed to ignite. He then came under heavy machine fire from a German halftrack and mortar fire. While they were fixing the problems with the igniter circuit the Panzer 4 turret swung round to try to engage them. The shot missed but caused the carrier’s engine to stall. Fortunately, the remedy worked and the flame ignited enveloping the tank. The tank wasn't destroyed but it was now immobile. Before Sgt Browne managed to restart the carrier, it came under heavy mortar fire again. This time igniting the fuel tank and destroying it. For his commendable personal bravery and valour, he was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously.

On my left flank Number 3 section, supported by the half track and Bren carrier, were able to advance and close with the enemy defending the hedgerow. However, the damage inflicted to numbers 1 section and 2 section prevented me advancing and securing my objective. Equally the Germans were unable to secure their own.

Outcome

An honourable draw. But an exceedingly exciting game!

 

Bolt Action - Game Report 9

Operation Striking Cobra - June 1944 Introduction Well Michael did it again. He arranged an excellent days competition at Entoyment. This ti...