A blog about miniatures, wargaming, and the people driven to ruin by them....

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

WWII North Africa: Italians Triumphant!

Howdie.  We ran a WWII North Africa game at our club on Monday night using Disposable Heroes and Coffin for Seven Brothers our "ever" popular WWII game system.  Basically, we have not organized a large 15mm game for some time, quite a few of us have substantial15mm arsenals, especially desert appropriate stuff.  So, we made a list, organizing rough parity on each side, and I created a simple scenario.

I tend to go for scenarios that represent tactical problems, rather than always going for specific historical battles.  This one was about coming up with rules for platoons being masked (id unknown), and dividing the table into 5 zones for each side... depending on how we secretly deployed, our plotted positions could change (this had a major impact on how the game was to proceed).

This was an all vehicle (and AT gun) scenario.  Elements were organized into platoons that would activate together, and fire together.

As it turned out,  our lists were not entirely accurate, and not everything was "desert worthy"... but we made the best of it anyway :)

The Axis players (including me and my trusty Italian berserkers) decided to hold the center with our 8.8cm artillery, screened with Italian 47/32 artillery, and artificially bolstered with "dummy" platoons (which moved about like real platoons, until unmasked and proven to be "dummies").  The two Italian forces would try to get as much British attention as possible, and allowing the Germans (with their much better guns) to knock out the British vehicles.  We decided to commit to the 4 flank zones, in an attempt to envelop the British.

Of course, the British decided to deploy their slow-heavies, the Valentines and Matildas, in the center, and push both of their flanks in an attempt to envelop the Germans and Italians... so we ended up two meeting engagements on both flanks, and a long range duel in the center.

But... the British failed to commit to either far flank, which resulted in both Axis far flank forces being driven further across the board.  My Italians, traveling in a wide valley on the extreme Axis right, were pushed right up against an opposing British force.  I presumed this to be the end of my Italians....

A scene of the first turn of the game, me striking my 'lil Duce pose... notice the furball starting on my table edge...
My poorly armored, and woefully undergunned Italian force found itself entangled with British Shermans, Crusaders, Humbers, and M3 Grants.  We desperately maneuvered on each other (me especially, as I looked for side and rear shots) as these platoons quickly became unmasked, and casualties began to accumulate.

A bit more detail, slightly later in the game...  note the soft glow of burning Shermans, and the heavy damage to a Sherman and a Crusader... ignore the burning Semovente 47/32....
At these close ranges, with many flank and rear shots, my Italians were able to actually inflict significant losses on the British.  A true upset in the scenario.

A shot of the entire 6x12 table.... you can see many still-masked platoons moving into the vast empty space in the center.... I made up dust clouds to indicate vehicles moving at speed, a nice looking effect, that also counted as linear obstacles...
There was actually the rest of the table to worry about, but I mostly was watching my side :)  On the far flank, a very strong force of Germans, including a Tiger, tangled with the other British punch, also a mix of Shermans, Lees, and Crusaders.  More Germans lurked on the other side of the valley ridgeline, dueling with the Grants to their fore.  These Germans would send a couple of vehicles to try to help my Italians.  The knot of Valentines and Matildas in the center would claim a few Italian vehicle kills from the other Italian force, but would slowly be whittled down by artillery, German tank, and yes, even Italian tank, fire.

My Saharianas race into the rear of the British, causing some carnage... shortly afterwards, a newly unmasked platoon of undamaged Shermans would turn 75mm guns, and loads of .30 mgs on these, and brew two of them up :(

The table kind of looked liked the battles in ... another game system.... which is unusual for DH.  Normally, the vehicles spread out.  But, with the vehicle platoon activation, movement, and firing (mechanisms to keep this large game going quickly) this resulted in the vehicles clumping together.

The German tanks, our presumed killers of the table, took some hits throughout the game...
.. but other than the 8.8 AA guns, they did not seem to kill many British vehicles.  They did claim a few.

On the far flank, the sole Tiger tank prowled... to no effect.  In fact, as the German commander of that flank lamented, it was the lowly truck with 20mm AA gun (seen beyond the glorious Tiger) that caused 50% of the British casualties (1 of the 2 ko'd Brit vehicles on that end) down there...
In the end, is was not even close.  We finished up with 48 points for the Axis, vs 18 points for the British... mostly by holding victory locations throughout the game, but also for the disparity in vehicle kills.

On my flank, the so-called Valley of Death, I had lost 1x Semovente 47/32, 2x Semovente 75/18, 2x Sahariana... with a heavily damaged M-13/40 and Semovente 75/18.  But, my Italians had managed to destroy (with the help of a German SdKfz 222) 3 Shermans, 2 Crusaders, and a Humber.  Damage was dealt to the 2nd platoon of Shermans by long range 8.8cm AA hits from the rear, as these British vehicles were forced from their intended objective, in an attempt to contain the wrath of the Italian menace on this flank.  Combined with the damage to the Grants, the British were not able to push the center because of the Italian threat.

I am probably down playing the role of my fellow Axis leaders.  But you must forgive me.  It was my one, my only, moment of glory with my 15mm Italian armor.  And I enjoyed every second of it!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Hoth Battle.... aka Night of the Wampa!

Howdie.  Just last night I participated in a gigantic game, the Imperial assault on the Rebel Echo Base hidden on the ice planet Hoth.  I was tasked by Jayson Gardner ( you may know him from such books as Where Heroes Dare and Primera Battala ) and Bryan Miley ( of No More Room in Hell infamy ) to complete vehicle and infantry stats for this game, using my current sci fi rules system Zero Sum Oblivion.

Zero Sum Oblivion was not written with the Star Wars universe in mind... but it was written to allow players to develop their own troops and backgrounds to meet their expectations of a sci fi gaming system.  In the event, the troops were statted out with no trouble.  The vehicles were a bit trickier, as it was important for the game to proceed like the battle as shown in the movie The Empire Strikes Back.  In the end, it seemed to work out, as the Rebel players desperately tried to stop the slowly advancing AT-ATs.  Dozens of storm troopers, and most of the supporting AT-STs, would crumple to the snowy ground under withering Rebel fire... but at the same time, one after another of the snow speeder crashed, as Rebel ATGAR and DF.9 guns were silenced, and the defensive trenches cleared of Rebel infantry.

Ultimately, the Rebel leaders would concede defeat once all three AT-ATs had moved into close range to the power generator.  There are rumors of a continuation fight in the Rebel complex, as storm troopers fight corridor by corridor, room by room, to cleanse Echo Base of its Rebel infestation....

Staging prior to start of game.... the AT-ATs and AT-STs would start at the table edge.

Here, the Imperial infantry are advanced into their starting positions.... no one seems eager to take the big open spot in the middle.  Commander Gardner declared that even open snow conferred incidental (-1) cover.  The storm troopers would have to trust in their Emperor and the quality of their armor.
Rebel Speeders are unleashed.... and the carnage begins.

A break in the action, for Wampa cake... what does it look like from inside Echo Base....

The storm troopers on the Imperial left flank take heavy casualties but empty the trenches to their front... Rebel commanders desperately try to move more units to protect the hangar... on the Imperial right, losses are lighter and the Rebels have little left to stop the storm trooper advance.  The battlefield is lit by numerous burning wrecks, including one area known as the bonfire of death (as everything near to it seemed to erupt in flames sooner or later).

The final Rebel gambit was to use troop carts to deploy additional Rebel forces from deeper inside the base... you can see one troop cart empty, all of its infantry occupants gunned down without a chance to even fire a single shot.  The AT-ATs were now in close range to the generator, and the battle comes to a close.

It was a great game, I personally had a lot of fun, thanks to Jayson and Bryan for including me in this Hoth battle.  I think overall my stats for the game elements worked pretty well... unfortunately no Rebel speeder had the chance to try a harpoon cable attack (they were making every effort to gain position to do this), and ultimately "no AT-AT was harmed in the making of this game" to the misery of the Rebel commanders.

Ever seen what a Wampa can do to a storm trooper, son?  Well we wanted to find out.  3 Wampas against 16 storm troopers...

3 dead Wampas and 8 dead storm troopers.  The Wampas are pretty tough, but maybe I needed to go a little bit further with them.

Til next time.....