Saturday, March 17, 2018

Clairemont must be held

The wind ruffled the canvas of the temporary command post set up in the forest. The rooves of the houses in Clairemont were just visible if you craned your neck and peered around the curve in the tent flap. Despite the breeze the interior of the CP was stiflingly hot.
"Well Guns?"
"Corp has confirmed those additional regiments Sir. Counter battery as well as howitzers."
Yes, but will we get them firing when and where we need them?"
"We'll try Sir."
"We need a damned sight better than 'try' Guns. Last time was a bloody shambles."
"We'll be there Sir" and lips were pulled taught across teeth in a grimace.
"We're ready Sir. Married up late last night."
"Again, last time was a bloody shambles. I won't have my men thrown like lambs to the slaughter because your men can't do their job."
Tracks drew breath but managed to keep his mouth closed. Men were still shot for insubordination when on active service.
"Right. We have to hold the line in front of Clairemont. The French 4th need to withdraw as they've been left wth their bloody flank hanging in the air. So we have to hold Jerry here, today, now." Eyes glanced around the CP, feet shuffled nervously. "We can do this. Just make sure your men keep their bloody heads down until Jerry reaches us, and watch the skies. No idea where the bloody RAF is. We've got to do this alone. Let's get on with it." The officers of the regiment folded maps into map cases, pens went into pockets, and the officers of the regiment and supporting units shuffled from the tent to go about their business.

The battlefield from the British side, Clairemont visible in the lower centre

1st and 2nd battalions were deployed, 1st on the left, 2nd on the right, with armoured support attached and well hidden. #rd Battalion and the remaining armour was held in reserve.

2nd Battalion on the right flank, in support of troops on the high ground (upper left) that the battalion had to hold to keep the German forces from Clairemont

The extreme right of 2 Battalion

The British centre held by elements of 1st Battalion. However there were also elements of 2 Battalion in the wood.

The German attack begins with an infantry battalion and a Panzer battalion advancing against 2 Battalion

Infantry advancing through fields ripe with wheat against wood jointly held by 1st and 2nd Battalions

A deployment error means that at the junction of 1 and 2 Battalions two 2 pdr  AT gun batteries (one from each battalion)  are left unsupported against attack

The Panzer Battalion advances against the right of 2 Battalion

Panzers rush in to assault the centre advanced positions of 2 Battalion

The German infantry attack the wood at the junction between the two defending British battalions, assaulting the AT batteries

Two of 'Tracks' Matilda II troops advance from their hidden positions in support of the 2 battalion infantry. The 40mm Bofors AA battery had been forced to fire directly at an advancing platoon of PzkwIIs which it promptly eliminated
The British artillery has been busy, eliminating a battalion of German 105mm guns using its counter battery assets. One regiment of 25pdrs has also been firing in support of 2 Battalion suppressing infantry stands.

The British commander commits his reserve 3 Battalion supported by 2 troops of Matilda Is

The Panzer Battalion attacking 2 Battalion pulls back in the face of fierce opposition from infantry platoons making effective use of Boyes AT rifles, and well supported by the Matilda II troops

However the German Infantry Battalion presses the attack against the junction between 1st and 2nd Battalions

The attacking German battalion takes significant casualties from flanking fire from the Vickers company attached to 1st Battalion, and also from the supporting 25 pdr regiment.

The Panzer battalion begins to withdraw having taken severe casualties, and the German commander decides to break off the attack and await reinforcements
This was  a much better performance for the BEF. The Independent Tank Brigade was more correctly allocated out as support, and use was made of the capability granted within the scenario generation system to hold 3 stands in hidden deployment at the beginning of the game. The three troops of Matilda IIs were in hidden deployment.

The fact that more of the British artillery actually participated after successful die rolls was  a significant difference from our previous game, causing useful suppressions, the occasional 'kill', and perhaps most importantly eliminating the supporting German artillery with counter battery fire.

There were also still more lessons. Keith had taken 2 flights of Stukas. I was lucky that he failed to roll the requisite '6' to get their support throughout the game, as I'd positioned my AA support in a position from which it had serious blind spots.

The game was played using 6mm armies created using Heroics and Ros figures and vehicles, using the Spearhead rules.

This was another great game. Win, lose, or draw, games of Spearhead are always immensely satisfying

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Expanding the Turkish empire - some victorian science fiction

Three weeks. Three hot stinking weeks sweltering in the heat, three hot stinking weeks choking on the dust of this poxy land. And all for nothing. Ahmet swung his legs across and sat on the edge of his cot, wiping his sleeve across his brow. Another day. Another day spent swallowing the dust of Palestine. The very thought had the vapours rising in his blood already. Shouting from across the encampment drew him from his deep reverie, and his valet burst through the tent flaps.

"They are here, they are here, they have appeared as if from the mists of time itself, exalted one" and the look on his valet's face spoke of a primaevil terror of the sort that no man could imagine.

"Calm down man, stop gibbering. Tell me what has happened."
"The undead, the possessed, they are here. They have appeared across the plain, conjured up by the wizards of the almighty."

Ahmet had set off with the blessing of the Sultan, conquest and glory in his mind. But the elusive Egyptian army had eluded them. Now, finally, was the chance for glory. Today the might of the Grand Turkish army would be tested. And he was determined it would not be found wanting.

This was the first Big battle HotT outing for my newly completed Turkish VSF army, facing off against Andy's Semi Historical Egyptian army.

Let battle commence

The Turkish right wing, aerial hero, airboat, behemoth, and two heroes in the command

The Egyptian left wing, aerial hero CnC and flyer supporting a command of spear, with a behemoth in the foreground

Turn 1, and the Turkish Djin (a God) appeared

The Turkish stronghold being defended by the Turkish army

The Turkish aerial hero, and airboat, over fly the Egyptian left flank

The battle lines close

The Turkish left faces off against Egyptian blade. The flyers have flown over the Egyptian lines, and on the next turn one has come back to pin the Egyptian flyer on the extreme left of the photo

An Egyptian hero swings around into the copse to pin the end of the line on the Turkish left flank

The Djin overflew the Egyptian lines too, and then came back in the following turn to attack an Egyptian chariot (Knight). The very next turn however the God abandoned the battlefield (i.e. I threw a 1 on the PIP die for that command)

The forces of each army start to mix it on the Turkish right

The lines collide. The aerial hero has attacked a spear from the rear

The lines clash on the Turkish left too

Another Turkish flyer comes in to pin the Egyptian hero on the left flank

The Egyptian aerial hero (the army CnC) attacks on the Turkish right

The Turkish left takes casualties

Now it's getting very up close and personal on the Turkish right


A unit of Turkish knights is attacked by Egyptian blade. That's a hero tucked up behind them. They didn't survive the fight

Looking a little like a stand-off on the left flank

But it's all go on the right

In the centre it's more about an exchange of fire between artillery and shooters

The Turkish left flank has holes in the line as it takes casualties

Several spear disappear from the Egyptian right as casualties

Turkish hero and paladin take on the Egyptian CnC, the aerial hero

The third Turkish flyer flies in to pin units of the Egyptian right to try to stop them breaking through the Turkish left flank.

Behemoth vs hero, aerial hero vs paladin

Up close

The Egyptian centre finally closes to the attack 

Lots of pushing and shoving on the left ... still

The Turkish paladin falls to the attacks of the Egyptian CnC

The Egyptian left has been decimated by the Turkish right, despite the loss of their paladin

The centre is hotly contested

The Egyptian aerial hero/CnC falls to the Turkish hero
 And so the battle ends, with the Egyptians having lost their CnC and more points than the Turkish army. Some photos of the state of play elsewhere along the lines at the end of the battle.

What a great game. The battle was eventually decided on the Turkish right, but it was close. There were only 4 APs in it in terms of casualty differential when the Egyptian CnC fell.

An excellent first outing for the Turkish army. It is rider heavy, and against Andy's Egyptians this makes them vulnerable, he has quite a few spear. This meant that I was more cautious with the mounted than I might otherwise be. But it was well fought nonetheless.