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Wednesday 26 April 2023

Play Testing Command & Colors Ancient/Medieval Rules

 Bob Black visited today and, during a fun day, we played a short game with my Britains Medieval figures.  I have had Command & Colors (C&C) Ancient rules for some time and I recently downloaded some of the Medieval expansion, but I had never properly played them.  Today was a great opportunity as I always think that testing rules works much better when you have an opponent.

The game was set up to represent a battle between medieval Western vs Eastern forces on a featureless flat table.  The figures are mostly Britains plastics, along with a few cheap toy figures:

The Eastern army consisted of medium cavalry and infantry with five units of light archers.  On the other side the Western army had heavy cavalry and a mix of heavy foot knights and medium men-at-arms, as well as four units of light archers.  The battle kicked off with an exchange of arrows across the board that pushed back three of the Eastern light and caused some casualties on both sides.

Then the impatient Western knights launched a mounted attack on their right flank:
Immediately, three units of Eastern medium cavalry moved forward to counter the knights.  The Eastern cavalry came out on top, destroying one unit of knights and damaging another.  They also rolled up one of the Western archer units (we forgot to 'evade'.).
Attention then shifted to the other flank as more Western knights galloped forward supported by medium men-at-arms.  Once again, although causing damage the Western army came off worse for wear.
The battle flowed back and forth with losses and gains being made by both sides.
The Western army became very broken up and their slow heavy infantry in the centre was unable to make much progress, relying on the medium infantry to take the battle to the enemy.
The battle then reduced to a series of smaller skirmishes across the field with the Eastern army gaining the upper hand.
By now the Western army was totally fragmented and reached its exhaustion point.  The Western army capitulated, but with the knowledge that some serious damage had been done to the Easterners.
I am not sure we did everything correctly and in accordance with the rules.  We did not use leaders, which would have added a new dimension and I am not sure we always got the retreat aspects correct.  Having said that, it was a fun fast moving game that we would like to try again.

Friday 21 April 2023

The Assault on Sage Island

 1943, and Sage Island is is a small, jungle covered isle in the Pacific that has been occupied by the Japanese army.  It is relatively small, but large enough to accommodate an airfield and a small anchorage. The 21st US Marines have been tasked with securing a beachhead, to permit a drive inland to capture the airfield.  

The immediate objective is to capture a line of low hills that dominate the beach and the Marines have been ordered to secure three that  guard two exits from the landing area.  Here is a view of the area of operations:

The three hills have dug in positions and there are two bunkers, each containing 47mm anti-tank guns.  In addition there are a couple of machine gun nests, mortars and some artillery to the rear of the hills. The Japanese also have an infantry company in reserve. The hills themselves are heavily wooded with palms trees and are no-go to vehicles.

It is early morning and the Japanese infantry wake to see a line of US amphibious vehicles coming from the sea.  At the same time a supporting US cruiser bombards the Japanese positions, but despite a lot of noise does very little damage:

The first wave of US marines arrives in LVTs which engage the shore with their 37mm guns and cannon.

The Japanese response is swift and two LVTs are quickly taken out by the anti-tank bunkers.
The second wave of US Marines, in a fleet of DUKW move onto the beach behind the cover of the LVTs.  The number of US troops on the beach begins to increase.
However, casualties from machine gun and rifle fire inflict heavy casualties amongst the marines on the open beach and the Japanese anti-tank guns destroy more LVTs.
After a stiff fire fight a platoon of Marines is able to flank the right hand anti-tank bunker.
And, despite heavy casualties eventually they are able to take out the Japanese gun.
Here is the situation on the cluttered beach.  In the background the first of the heavy landing craft  (LCTs) edges towards the shore. A fourth LVT has now been destroyed.
The first two M3 tanks are disgorged onto the sand
Having taken out the bunker the marines are able to work their way onto the hill and begin to engage the trenches.  It is a costly move and the battle for the hilltop swings back and forth.

So far the marines are unable to dislodge the Japanese who continue to fight despite mounting casualties.
Then the Japanese artillery zeros in on the beach and causes yet more casualties amongst the exposed US infantry.
The marines finally manage to clear the right hand hill, but they have insufficient strength to hold it as the Japanese commander commits his reserve company.
Some good news for the Americans as one of the M3s finally eliminates the second  anti-tank bunker.
On the beach Japanese shells continue to fall amongst the exposed marines.
More troops flood ashore, bringing in the marines' heavy weapons.
But, both the centre and right hills have been reinforced and the trenches are reoccupied by Japanese infantry.

This is the situation as the landing is all but completed.  The US now have four tanks on the beach and the Japanese have little to counter them as the 75mm tank guns begin to blast the hill tops.
However, the Japanese artillery is still fully in action pouring shells onto the beach.
After more desperate fighting the marines once again clear the right hand hill.
Shortly after, with fire from the tanks in support the marines work their way onto the central hill.
It looks like the Japanese are all but defeated, but not before one of the field guns brings direct fire onto the flank of an M3, destroying it.
At last, having suffered severe casualties and losing a fair bit of their armour,  the objectives are taken by the marines.  The first action to secure Sage Island is complete and is a costly American victory.
Most of the figures used are from my Airfix collection, with a mix of Airfix and diecast armour.  For rules I used an adaptation of Memoir'44 rules.  Overall, an enjoyable game, which swung back and forth but the weight of US equipment eventually overwhelmed the defenders.

Thursday 13 April 2023

Airfix WW2 Japanese

 The wet and windy weather gave me an opportunity to work on some more of my Airfix Japanese infantry, with some crew served weapons and artillery.  I have had a long held desire to play a WW2 Pacific action involving Japanese and US Marines.  I am just about ready to do so:

Because the Japanese are likely to be doing a lot of defending I have created several trenches, again using Airfix figures.  I posted a piece earlier on this blog showing how this was done.

Tuesday 11 April 2023

Battle Report - War in the Woods FIW

 I had been hoping to play an FIW scenario with Will a couple of weekends ago but for various reasons that fell through.  With the game set up, I decided to play it solo.  The scenario is a strong French advance towards a British stockade that has been established until a more substantial fort can be constructed.  The French need to disrupt this plan.

The French, consisting of several companies of the Royal Roussillon Regiment, a French Canadian Regiment and a large number of Huron Indians are advancing from the far side of the Black River.  The stockade is defended by a force of Albany Militia and the British, learning of French moves, have despatched a relief force, consisting of the Royal American Regiment, some Rangers and a party of Mohawk Indians. This is the playing area, the stockade is bottom left and the road to Albany running along the Black River valley is the route to be used by the relief force.  The French are on the right bank of the river as viewed here:

The stockade and the Albany Militia:

As can be seen there is a stone bridge adjacent to the stockade and several fords marked by the lighter coloured stones. The whole area is heavily forested and there are several tree covered rocky outcrops which offer excellent defensive positions.

Its not long before clouds of Huron are spotted in the trees along the river, moving towards the fords:
The Canadians advance towards the stone bridge:

A rocky outcrop opposite the Canadian advance is held by an Albany Militia outpost, which begins to fire on the Canadians:
The Canadians rush forward and capture the bridge, but they are met by a hail of fire from the stockade that cuts down a number of them:

The Canadians have now occupied a rocky outcrop on their side of the river and exchange fire with the militia outpost.  Several casualties from both sides fall.

Further up river, the Royal Roussillon Regiment, covered by Huron scouts moves up to one of the fords:

The British plan is to rush the Royal Americans down the road as rapidly as possible to support the defence of the stockade, while the Rangers, supported by the Mohawks will cover this move by holding as many of the fording points as possible. 

The Royal Americans march down the road:

And the Rangers close in on the first ford:
The Huron scouts covering the Royal Roussillon dive into the woods and attack the Rangers on the outcrop causing some casualties
And the Royal Roussillon begin their crossing.
Meanwhile at a crossing closer to the stockade a large Huron war party, unopposed crosses the river.
They clear out the remaining militia from the outcrop.

While all this is going on the Royal Americans continue to plod along the road without interference.

The Rangers and Mohawks now engage in a firefight against large numbers of Huron on the opposite river bank:

The head of the Royal American column arrives at the stockade:

and deploys into a line covering the approaches to the stockade just in time to meet the Huron advance and reoccupy the outcrop.
The Hurons surge into the Royal American line and bitter hand to hand fighting forces back some of the redcoats:
But the Hurons are in insufficient numbers and bit by bit they are pushed back and eventually routed following the arrival of some Mohawks: 

The Hurons leading the advance of the Royal Roussillon are counter attacked by some Mohawks and eliminated as the French infantry advance across the ford.

The rangers come under fire and lose many casualties, but they and the Mohawks are now in a very strong position and are able to halt the French.

The rangers on the outcrop are very nearly destroyed, but a charge bay Mohawks, led by their chief finally stops the French, who are chased back across the ford.

At the same tome the Huron attack against the Royal Americans is destroyed and they too beat a retreat.

Having lost huge numbers and with the destruction of the Royal Roussillon a french withdrawal begins.  The Canadians realise that they have no hope in crossing the stone bridge and they too melt back into the woods.  Overall and interesting game that saw some very hard fought close combat.  The dense woods and terrain prevented the effective use of musket fire in many cases.

I am sure that the French will attempt another move against the stockade soon.

Most of the figures are by Irregular Miniatures apart from the Hurons, which are Wargames Foundry.  
For rules I used an adapted set of Command & Colors, much simplified by the lack of cavalry and artillery.  Also the Indians were given an advantage in close combat, but are not so good with muskets. The Rangers gain when firing due to their marksmanship ability.