tiistai 24. maaliskuuta 2015

Russia 1812: Battle of Klyastitzy

Last weekend saw the start of the Russia 1812 Napoleonic campaign at my club. We started of with the Battle of Klyastitzy, which saw Marshal Oudinot's II Corps being attacked by General Wittgenstein's I Corps. Historically Oudinot was not prepared for a sudden Russian attack as Wittgenstein had offered little resistance previously. Legrand's Division was pushed away from the Yakobovo heights towards river Nitschtscha. The French were forced to retreat over the bridge when their flanks were threatened by cavalry. As the French tried to burn the bridge the Pavlov grenadiers stormed it driving the French back. At this point Oudinot retreated and would not seriously threaten St. Petersburg again.

More pictures at the blog of one of my club mates: Napoleon Complex Gaming

Our scenario saw Legrand's 6th Division deployed for defence on the Yakobovo heights and Verdier's 8th Division being situated close to the River Nitschtscha waiting to react to Russian manouvers. On the Russian side Koulnieff's Advance division of Jägers and light cavalry moved in from the French left flank to tie down the defenders.

The beginning of the game saw Berg's and Kakhoffski's divisions move onto the table to start an attack on the French middle and right flanks. Meanwhile Legrand was feeling confident and moved forward with one brigade to engage the French light horse artillery of the advance guard. This left the brigade separated from the rest of the Division and under heavy fire from both the artillery and the Jäger's on it's flank.

The first Russian brigade makes contact with the French defenders and under orders from General Berg charges in with bayonets. General Kakhoffski's Grenadier division suffers from misunderstandings (Blunder rolls in Blackpowder) and is delayed when coming to support.

The brave attacking French brigade is charged by cavalry after being pounded for a few turns by artillery. One battalion fails to form a square while another is charged in the flank. Against all odds both battalions beat back the attacking cavalry.

On the leftmost flank the Russian Jägers have managed to pin down one brigade with their fire. At the same time on the French right the Russian attack is finally going in at full strength and pushing back the French.

As the situation starts to look dire, Oudinot gives the order for Verdier to move his Division onto the heights to relieve Legrand's battered Division. Artillery is pushed into canister range of the first Russian battalions and one brigade utterly shattered by the fire from French guns.

With the Russians driven back from Yakobovo both sides take a while to consolidate their positions with the French forming a defensive line and the Russians getting ready for another attack.

The remnants of Legrand's division fight a desperate rearguard action giving their comrades time to solidify defenses. A few left over battalions manage to keep the left flank for a few turns against relentless infantry and cavalry attacks.

With the remnants of Legrand's division finally destroyed a new Russian attacks starts to move in towards Yakobovo. Seeing the Jäger's out of position and exhausted after fighting for the better part of the day the French light cavalry move in to remove the threat to their flank. However the Jäger's are able to hold of the attack.

At this point I had to leave, but the game was still continued for a few turns. After a few attacks and counter-attacks Yakobovo still remained in French hands and both sides had suffered heavy losses. With the French holding their positions and Russians having suffered slightly larger losses the game was declared a minor French victory.

sunnuntai 22. maaliskuuta 2015

Wrapping up the challenge

After a hectic 3 months the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge is over again. 72 painters, of which 66 submitted at least a single entry, managed altogether roughly 65,000 points worth of painting. The average between participants was 983 points, which puts me slightly above average with my 1019 points during the three months :) However the top 5 painted over a quarter of all the entries so that tends to raise the average quite a bit. I ended up with fewer entries than last year and less points, but this year round I didn't really participate in the bonus challenges so not so many points gained by "cheating".

As with most my hobby plans, my painting plan for the challenge didn't really survive first contact. I had planned to paint up my Panzerschützen force and 28mm Napoleonics with some Saga and a Ronin warband thrown in for flavor. I also prepped some Warhammer monsters. In the end the only planned stuff that really went forward was the Panzerschützen project with 3 battalions of Middle Guard painted up on the Napoleonics side. The monsters and my vikings and samurai were just put back in the cabinets without much love being received from me. During the challenge my hobby time was cut a bit short with the addition of our new family member so that affected my painting output quite a bit. When going into the challenge I didn't know yet if we would receive the puppy or not so I did plan a bit too optimistically. Still all went rather well with one project nearly finished and the Waterloo project receiving some much needed additions.

Now to my final entry or the "Curtgeld". In order to gain entry to the challenge a participant must submit one themed figure that will be sent to Curt's collection. This year carrying an anti-hero theme I had to come up with some character to paint up. At first I wanted to do Sven Dufva from The Tales of Ensign Stål, but with no suitable minis being on the market I would have had to do quite a bit of converting and sculpting. I went the easy way and bought one of the excellent Dark Sword Miniature's Game of Thrones models. Tyrion would have been my first choice, but I figured it was a bit too obvious so went with Samwell Tarly of the Night's Watch. Overweight, useless in a fight and cowardly behavior makes for an unlikely hero, but he is extremely smart, well educated and can be extremely courageous when needed so ends up acting quite heroically at many points in the series.

Painting wise it's bit of a dull figure with nearly all of his equipment being black. I'm still not really at ease when painting black as getting a good balance between enough highlights and the painting still looking black and not grey, is quite difficult. To counter all the black I decided to make his leather equipment a bit more colourful with reddish tones. On the base I didn't want to go overly wintery so only a slightly frosty ground with some small snow patches here and there.

So with that done it's back to the painting desk then :) No need to worry about submission schedules so should be slightly less stressful :P However the Waterloo centennial is drawing close and our Russia 1812 campaign has gotten underway so there are quite a few painting deadlines to be met.

torstai 19. maaliskuuta 2015

Bolt Action Gameday at the club

We held a Bolt Action Gameday at my club the past weekend to give new players a chance to try the game and for older players to try out some themed scenarios. I had promised to put together a scenario pitting British Airborne against German defenders somewhere in France during 1944. In addition to that there were three other tables ready for players and we did have quite a nice showing of people new to the system and to our club as well.

More pictures can be found through the blogs of other members of the club; Juha (who supplied most of the Germans for my scenario) and Mika.

In my game the British were making a nighttime attack on a German HQ and Radar station in an attempt to destroy them and capture some important personnel. Loosely based on one of the scenarios in the Battleground Europe booklet. The Brits would start with a small force coming on the table and reinforcements being able to come in from any table edge, while the Germans would only have a small garrison in the area with reinforcements starting to come along one table edge when the attacking Brits were spotted.

It was quite fun to just Umpire a game for a change instead of playing. Nice to add some element of surprise and random events to battles and see how the players react. I wanted to create a Commando style game with loads of action and in the end it did prove to be quite a bloody battle with the result hanging in balance literally until the last throw of dice.

The Germans started with two Feldgendarmerie squads guarding the chateau and with an AA cannon positioned on it's roof to provide cover from marauding allied airplanes.

The Red Devils start their attack and move in with two squads towards the chateau with a third going for. However they seem to have been delayed while moving towards the objective as the sun starts to rise already on turn two leaving the units out in the open in clear sight of the AA cannon, which starts firing on the attackers. Brits got quite unlucky with the dice roll to see when the night would end with daylight coming at the earliest possible moment.

Eager to escape the fire from the German AA an airborne squad dashes forward to engage the defending Jerries in hand to hand combat. With the Feldgendarmerie being more accustomed to catching AWOL soldiers than to real fighting the results were quite clear. Another squad opens up on the AA killing the crew with some lucky shooting.

As the alarm has now been sounded a 6pdr is brought into action to guard the road leading to the Chateau and not a moment too soon as German reinforcements start arriving almost immediately after the alarm is sounded. Goes to show that good drill can pay off as the Germans show up at the earliest possible opportunity. The 6pdr fires a good shot at the first 251 coming in and promptly blowing it up forcing the occupants to dismount and take casualties.

One Airborne squad has made it's way towards the radar station and set up explosives ready to destroy the building. Some surrendering Germans are taken in for questioning.

Airborne reinforcements start rushing in towards the Chateau to secure it before any more Germans arrive. One Jeep gets shot to pieces by a Universal Carrier that shows up along the road behind the destroyed Hanomag.

Catching a glimpse of some of the VIP's occupying the Chateau one Red Devils squad rushes forward to capture them and bring them to justice.

With the radar station destroyed and the Brits starting to make their escape with their captives the Germans start to move up with haste to stop them. One Hanomag speeds up on the flank with the troops inside it dismounting ready to attack the Brits.

The remaining Feldgendarmerie squad tries to get to their captured superiors only to be destroyed by the defending airborne soldiers.

The dismounted grenadier squad moves in to secure the captives killing all the offending Brits. However danger is far from over with one more British squad moving in after dealing with the radar station. The Germans in turn are wiped out by the attacking Brits.

With the battle hanging on an edge Sgt. Steiner with his squad of veteran fighters rushes in to assault the Devils who are still recovering from the previous close combat. They are just in time and manage to free the captives yet again. At this point both forces were on the brink of destruction and the British player accepted defeat as his last infantry squad was destroyed.

This was a really enjoyable game to Umpire with loads of action going on at all times. Both sides had their share of bad luck with the British early attack being hampered with the coming day and quick German reinforcements and later with the Germans being unable to hit the Brits with their fire. British PIATs performed well destroying multiple vehicles despite usually needing 6s to hit. The game really hang in balance and had the last ditch German assault failed, the Red Devils would have been able to escape with their captives and take seize the day.

In addition to my game there was a Winter War game with Soviets attacking a Finnish defence line, a scenario based on the final battle in Saving Private Ryan pitting a mixed force of Rangers and Paras against SS and a Pacific battle with Japanese troops making an assault over a river against USMC defenders. Forgot to take pictures of the last scenario, but there are some pics of the amazing basing done on the Japs.