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Friday 27 October 2023

WW2 Rapid Fire Game

 I have been itching to have a go at Rapid Fire, having bought the rules last year.  I have watched a few games and understood the basics.  Will came over a few days ago and it seemed like a good opportunity to have a play.

For the game, I cobbled together a US infantry battalion and a battalion minus of German troops.  The US had four Sherman 75mm tanks and the German two Panthers.

The Germans occupied a small village and crossroads in bocage/Normandy type terrain.  Each side had a mortar platoon, a couple of heavy machine guns, anti tank teams as well as rifle companies:

The Germans concealed themselves in some of the buildings and their two tanks covered likely amour approaches

A full company lurks behind a hedge, with an anti tank team. The Germans have an OP in the tall building. A machine gun covers the road.
The US forces start in a farm complex, with their OP in the roof of the arched building.  Sherman tanks are lined up along a track:
The action kicks off with the US advancing on their right, quickly bring down mortar fire on themselves:

Shortly after, the four Shermans advance with two entering into a field.  A Panther moves forward and quickly knocks one out.  Mortar fire still rains down on the US infantry, but does not cause many casualties.
A third Sherman attempts to move around the flank, supported by more infantry.
However, the second Panther advam]nces and quickly destroys this Sherman and effectively prevents the infantry advancing.
A bazooka team creep forward to try and take out the Panther on the road and they attract some more mortar fire. Supported by two Shermans the Bazooka eliminates the threat from the Panther, leaving it burning in the road.
With the threat from the Panther gone, US infantry can now move across the wheat field and flank the German machine gun covering the road
The German machine gun withdraws and once again mortar bombs rain down on the US troops in the wheat field.
One of the German anti-tank teams moves down the road to counter the US advance in the centre but attracts the attention of the US observers and they too suffer from a mortar bombardment.  Also, the second Panther reverses back to the road and moves over the the area of the crossroads to deal with the remaining Shermans.

With the second Panther out of the way, US infantry that were held up are able to advance, but they run into another German machine gun and infantry in one of the buildings.  They suffer casualties and are effectively stopped in their tracks.

Meanwhile, the second Panther appears on the road and destroys the two remaining Shermans.  In the far distance US infantry work their way through the orchard but are ambushed by more concealed German infantry, taking more casualties.  The US infantry in the wheat field push through the hedges and enter the fir wood but they too come under heavy fire from nearby buildings and the second German machine gun.
US mortar fire stops the machine gun from being too effective, but with all of the US tanks destroyed, a Panther on the loose and at least two companies of German infantry in the village, with mounting casualties, the US attack falters.

This first attempt with these rules worked quite well once we had got to grips with them and the game moved quite quickly.  The Shermans made little impression on the Panthers.

We set up a new battle and swapped sides.  Initially the US did well however, once the panthers appeared on the scene the result was very similar.  US troops left the field tail between legs leaving their burning tanks behind.  It would be interesting to play again with less powerful German tanks.

The figures used are all by Valiant Miniatures and the tanks are Italeri Fast Builds.

Thursday 19 October 2023

Clash along the Nile

 Bob Black came over for a game yesterday and I was keen to have another go at C&C Ancients, introducing light chariots and 'warrior' class infantry.

The setting for the battle was based on the idea of a Roman force in southern Egypt moving along the Nile valley to put down a troublesome Nubian presence that had been harassing Roman trade routes.  As the Romans work south they find their path blocked by the Kushite enemy:

The Roman left wing

The Roman right wing
Kushite warriors and chariots
The view across the battlefield.
I played the Romans and Bob the Kushites.  I was pretty confident that my heavy infantry could ram through the lighter Kushites, after which my cavalry would run them down.  However the Gods were not on my side that day as I studied my tactic cards.  Nearly all applied to my left wing, where I only had two units.  With limited options I hoped that things would improve as the battle unfolded.  I kicked off by moving my archers forward to harass his centre.  Bob had no foot light troops and his cavalry was on the wings so I felt fairly safe:
Error - Bob had a card that allowed him to rapidly close on my archers, which had done very little damage, and cut them to pieces, forcing them to retreat:
I now moved my mass of infantry into the centre to threaten his infantry that had driven off the archers:

This initially worked well as a Kushite unit is badly damaged and another forced back.

But, now my ability to continue this assault is restricted by the cards and several attacks force back and cause casualties amongst my infantry.

Despite causing damage I am unable to make real inroads into his line. Bob then counter attacked with his cavalry and chariots
Initially I was able to check this advance with my left wing cavalry,  However, by now I had lost three units to Bob's one
On the opposite wing my cavalry counter attack met with some success wiping out some Nubian horsemen, but my cavalry were destroyed in the process.
Now Bob was able to deliver a hammer blow with a massive advance.  I was unable to counter this and the Roman army collapsed. 
My commander fell on his sword with the battered Roman army pulling back from the field.
The gods had betrayed the Romans and the Kushites proved to be a hard hitting nimble foe, while my Romans were fixed and unable to respond.  I probably should have thrown my cards in on turn one and hoped for a better hand.  Next time...............

Saturday 7 October 2023

Just for fun

 These figures were first painted in the 1980s by me and have been working their way around our extended family until they were finally given back to me four decades on!

A bit of touching up was needed but they still look rather nice:

Wednesday 4 October 2023

Battle Report - The Battle of Borodino 7 September 1812

The creation of a new wargames room in a spare bedroom and the acquisition of an 8 x 4 foot playing surface allowed me to consider some larger scale Napoleonic battles.  I was also keen to give my recently painted Russian army a try out.  I decided it would be fun to try out the Battle of Borodino and with will coming over for the day it was an opportunity not to be missed.

I based the battle on the Command and Colors scenario, but suitably enlarged to allow a greater number of troops and a more expansive battlefield. I played the Russians and Will the French.

This is a general view of the area of action looking from the French side.  The two Russian redoubts are visible in the centre, and with Borodino village with the bridge on the left:

From one side looking along the French lines:

The opposite view.  The stream is fordable but the boggy area acts as a hinderance for troops trying to cross. There are fords for cavalry and artillery to cross:

A view from the Russian Grand Redoubt looking out towards Borodino village:

The action kicks off with a French demonstration against Borodino village, which is held by Russian Light Infantry:

Supported by artillery French light troops storm the village:

After a brisk battle the French take Borodino, but decide not to occupy it due to the threat of Russian artillery in the redoubts overlooking the village.

This ended the action in this area for a while and attention shifted to the other flank, as Poniatowski's French Corps begins to move towards the Russian left. The action begins with some infantry, supported by Lancers and Chasseurs a Cheval moving forward to clear the Russian skirmishers from the woods.  The French cavalry are chased off and pursued by some Cossacks:

A fierce firefight follows around the central wood with the Russian light supported by artillery

However, weight of numbers and artillery fire eventually overcomes the Russian light and the central wood is cleared by the French:

With Poniatowski's Corps advancing, the Russians observe the ominous sight of a mass of Cuirassiers moving up in support:

The Cossacks pursue the Chasseurs but are then chased off by Cuirassiers

The French now pour huge numbers of cavalry into the Russian flank and a major action unfolds:

A great melee between French cavalry and Russian infantry and Cossacks ensues. One of the Cuirassier regiments is forced back.

Russian Grenadiers in square formation beat off the French light cavalry
Suddenly it is all quiet on the Russian left flank.  Having suffered heavily the Russian infantry have held off against the cavalry attack, although the Cossacks have been destroyed and the cohesion of units has been lost. In the distance large columns of French infantry can be seen advancing.
The Russians attempt to consolidate before the inevitable infantry attack.
French light and Russian Jaegers battle it out in the left hand woods.  The Russians would be overwhelmed.

The situation for the Russians on their left flank is becoming critical.  Despite fending off numerous attacks, Russian numbers are dwindling.  Some heroic charges give temporary respite but each time the Russians lose more men and the French continue to advance.

The Russians attempt to consolidate their position on the left, continually threatened by cavalry and bombarded by artillery.  The Russian guns on the left have now been silenced.

In an attempt to relieve pressure on his left flank, the Russian commander decides to demonstrate on the right.  Several regiments of cavalry and infantry begin to cross the stream, instantly attracting the attention of the French.
This gives the left flank a breather and the Russian infantry pull back towards the centre.
Russian infantry move across the bridge towards Borodino village.
In order to regain the initiative and to counter the move on the Russian right the battalions of French Imperial Guard and Grenadiers a Cheval advance.

The Russian left has been restored.
French guard cavalry led by no less than Napoleon himself crash into the Russian infantry on the bridge, but they are driven off by a counter charge by Russian Curassiers.
Almost at the same time the lead French Guard battalions, again with Napoleon urging them on, attack the Grand Redoubt.  The Russian guns fire cannister into the French ranks
A counter attack by Russian infantry destroys one of the depleted Guard battalions and the other is forced into square by the Russian Curassiers.
One of the Russian guns in the redoubt is destroyed but is quickly replaced by infantry who charge into the Guard battalion, destroying it.  Napoleon is seen being carried off to the rear, badly wounded.
The Russian Cuirassiers follow up and smash into a French battalion in the river bed
Now the Young Guard arrive and cause further Russian casualties, but they are chased off by Russian dragoons. The Russian artillery is now seriously depleted but fights on.
However, the Russian commander looks over to his left and can see the remnants of his left flank retreating to the rear.  Despite success around the redoubt, overall Russian losses mean that the day is lost. 

The Russian withdraw back towards Moscow and to lick their wounds.

This was an excellent game which used a mix of old Minifig and Warrior figures, while the French also had Ros infantry. The rules used were our in house version of Command and Colors, used without the cards.

The final score was 15 - 13 to the French, quite a close result.

It took me a while to understand how best to use the Russians.  Their musketry is terrible but they are very resilient and do well in close combat.  The solution was to engage the French close up, which was costly but gave results.