Friday, 16 July 2010

Damascus or Bust

Colin Jack does not do world war 2 in anything but style. Vichy France vs the Dominions plus a few commandos. I had plumbed for the Vichy side as the allies already had the dastardly Mr Jack and his sinister accomplice 'Ray.' The rules we were using were triumph and tragedy an interesting set with some quirks.

The sinister 'Ray' was seen conversing with the dastardly Jack before the game and I could tell an evil plot was in its infancy. Planning in a wargame, have they no sense of honour.

The game was a simple grab the buildings scenario. The more you had

the greater your chance of good cards, did |I say simple. Colin's games are never as straight forward as capture this or that and this game was no different. At the end of the game each building was worth one playing card of points plus each building had a hidden special feature only revealed upon capturing, I hope you are keeping up because I wasn't.

Comrade Bill Gilchrist was the senior commander of the Vichy forces. I was to advance on the right with my Moroccans (Goums) in their splendid striped coats while Bill took the legion up the left. I also had command of the rather splendid looking French armoured halftrack truck tank thing.

Bill had craftily picked the side with 4 buildings rather than 3 to give us a better start. We quickly occupied these while the dominion forces captured the 3 in front of them. My armoured half track car thing pushed to the middle buildings, it did looked incredibly mean.

Well appearances can be deceptive, on the first turn of firing I discovered that it was crewed by Mr Leclerc and the rest of the 'Allo Allo' crowd. My driver had lined up a beautiful enfilading shot down a line of 'crack' commandos, unfortunately it would seem that gunner better at polishing his gun rather than using it. Things only got worse next turn as my not so fabulous armoured thingy pulled up in front of their armoured thingy. The gunner discovered that it contained some kind of hero, one of the hidden treats in the buildings. Being a hero is no good if someone shoots at you so I had to take a morale check. As you are maybe guessing Leclerc was not for shooting. Fortunatly British were also not the best shots.

Things were going rather better for the Goums, they had reached the middle buildings and were in the process of occupying one of them. Unfortunately those, should have been so dead, commandos were doing much of the same. Some talked of sharpening knives on cobbles, others buggering the blond haired commandos, unfortunately it was all talk. The rather sinister 'Ray' had somehow magicked up some Aussies to occupy the last of the building in the middle and it was my Goums who started to look like they were buggered. The Aussies fixed bayonets and charged in, things were not looking good.

I had hatched a cunning plan, a quick look across the field revealed that my armoured thingy could swing round and take the Aussies from behind while the Goums disengaged from the front. The plan was based on Leclerc doing some shooting I should have known better, I was getting suspicious Leclerc sympathies. Safe from the attentions of Leclerc those Aussies set about the Goums, a few thrusts later and it was all over the Goums reputation in tatters.

Bill had formed up his legionaries in a firing line and was doing some damage to the commandos

in the buildings. These legionnaires had located Rick in one of the buildings and decided to use him as a hostage based on the good behaviour of the British. We had also managed to rustle up some reinforcments in the form of some legionaries and more Goums. The legionaries took up position in the middle while I pushed the Goums up towards the middle buildings.

The second batch of Goums charged the Aussies in the building keen for quick bit of bayonet work themselves. The Aussies excretions had left them knackered and it did not take long for the Goums to finish them off. Flushed by their success, instead of occupying the building their none to cleaver commander decided to launch an immediate bayonet charge on those pesky commandos. The sinister 'Ray' picked up his dice and ended any future involvement of the Goums, I could have cried but it's only a wargame.

I was left with the 'I couldn't hit a barn door' armoured thing, great. Fortunately Comrade Gilchrist had 2 full units left and they were 'le Legion.' Being of mainly German extraction probably helped their shooting and the last of the commandos perished under a fail of fire. The game however was drawing to a close and those legionaries were not occupying any of the central buildings. The cards came out, it was decision time. A few good cards would have helped. To cut a long story short, we lost and so did Rick.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Reconnaissance in force

Our scenario was a reconnaissance in force mission with British units probing German positions. He context for this scenario was operation Bluecoat after the first day as the British try to open up the German defences. Jim and Derek would run as the Brits and Bob the Germans. Yours truly was umpiring again.

The main axis of the British attack was taking place to the north just off the edge of the table . The objective of the British was to investigate the strength of the German position and attempt to open up the road if possible. The British had a recon platoon and a Blitz platoon hidden on table and an infantry company plus a troop of Churchills marching down the road off table, arriving on turn 3 1 platoon at a time.

The Germans objective was to hold the allied advance and deny the use of the road. For this purpose they had a reduced company of infantry 3 hmg, 1 75mm infantry gun and a 50mm a/t gun. They also had a few entrenchments scattered on table.

The British started with some spotting on the woods in front of their hidden position having spotted nothing they moved forward occupying the wood. All this movement was hidden but Bob could smell a rat, well it was Jim.

Derek commanding the blitz platoon hidden in the village decide to advance forward. In typical British dynamism they jumped into their half-tracks and drove down the open road, you would think they would have learned by now. BANG the first half-track took a hit from the hidden 50mm a/t gun. BANG, you guessed it the second half-track got much of the same. Well the British infantry bailed out and amazingly neither half-track was brewed. Jim's recon platoon was well placed to flank the gun but Bob had this covered with an hmg and some infantry a firefight developed effectivly tying down the the recon.

The Blitz platoons woes were only just beginning, German infantry had appeared in the hedge line opposite and a hidden FOO had managed to range in the onboard 75mm IG. A few turns later and most of the platoon was legging it into the nearest wood. The British reserves had started to arrive and Derek wheeled to face the Germans behind the hedge line. This presented his flank to the 50mm waiting down the road this brought about a damage and a retreat. The British probe was failing miserably and time was drawing to a close it was time to wrap the game up.

Although the British had not taken many casualties any momentum was gone. The main German position was untouched and the British would have to pause and prepare a proper attack to achieve any success.

Yet again we used Battlegroup panzer Grenadier it is a great rule set and always produces a good game. The figures were all supplied by Jim and Derek, Derek had discovered a battalion of Germans he had forgotten some people have too much lead.

Friday, 29 January 2010

The Battle of Emsdorf

Played Black Powder for the second time last night down at my local club in Edinburgh. The battle chosen for the occasion was Emsdorf 14th July 1760. The protagonist consisted of an Allied command of Hanoverian, Hessian and British forces ranged against German troops in French service.

Marburg which was the French main supply depot for the army operating towards Kessel approximately 80 miles to the northwest. The French Army had pushed the allied force up to Kassel and had halted to sort out their supply arrangements before continuing their advance. On the night of the 14th Allied intelligence had received information that the french field bakery was located at Ziegenhain some 25 miles NEE of Marburg covered by a large French Brigade commanded by Baron Glaubitz.

Looking to slow the French down the commander of the Alllied force, Ferdinand of Brunswick ordered a small combined arms force based at Fritzlar, under the command of the Hereditary Prince to intercept this force and destroy it.

The hard marching troops of this flying column raced south on the morning of the 15th. Arriving at Trysa in the evening, 2o miles from their start point and only 2 miles from Ziegenhain, his scouts reported that the enemy was actually camped at Emsdorf 10 miles to the west. The hereditary Prince made camp that night before setting out in the morning for Emsdorf. Arriving at the outskirts of the village at midday on teh 16th he found the french were settling down to have lunch. There were no outpost sited so the hereditary prince decided to split his force to surround the enemy and cut off any retreat.

The positon of Emsdorf covers the main approaches to Marburg sitting on a slight rise looking south east over the main valley running 30 miles north to Kessel.

The French had encamped beside the village of Emsdorf oblivious of the approaching allies and sat down to drink their beer.

Pushing through the woods to the south of Emsdorf the Prince struggled to get his attack off to a quick start. The lead Hanoverian Battalion had great difficulty in shaking out upon leaving the cover of the trees. An alert sentry duly spotted the conflagration and raised the alarm. The French now alerted began to from line of battle as they began to shake out into L formation to cover the converging forces. Von Luckner who had been moving his forces in from the west spotted an opportunity to strike the exposed flank of the southern side of the french L.
Von Luckners Hussars launched a sharp charge, the terrified German mercenaries broke as the hussars bore down on them fleeing up the hill in confusion. This retreat only uncovered the flank of their sister battalion in a whirl of pelisses and sabers it was all over the German battalion ceased to exist.This charge threw the French into confusion their formation was a shambles and nearly half of the available infantry was out of commission.Glaubitz hurriedly moved his reserve down to plug the gap. He was fortunate the Allied attack was poorly coordinated as he formed a semblence of a line before the allied infantry could attack.
(Looking north from the Hereditary Princes position. The village of Emsdorf can be made out in the back ground. Von Luckners Hussars are charging into the still forming French.)

The main allied infantry force of 4 battalions now began its attack on the french positions at the base of the hill. A firefight developed along the line with the French getting the worst of it. Some of the mercenary German battalions were begin to edge back. Glaubitz decided to reform his line further up the hill and pulled his units back desperately trying to rally them. At this point the Hereditary Prince launched the Hanoverian battalion Von Marschall into a spirited charge up the hill.
The German mercenaries fired a ragged volley before disintegrating back through the battalions behind. The Hereditary prince checked the Hanoverian's before they could get out of control. The allied brigede paused reformed and continued its advance after the retreating German mercenaries.
On the other flank the 15th Light Dragoons tasked with covering the allied left flank, had formed on the ridge line looking down towards the village of Emsdorf . French light troops were seen to be occupying Emsdorf while the Bercheny hussars were maneuvering in the fields behind the village. The colonel of the 15th had placed the unit in an exposed position and the fire from the french light infantry soon caused disorder amongst the ranks. The English colonel decided to retire behind the ridge line, this simple maneuver was turned into a disaster as the colonel toppled from his horse the regiment broke and fled from the scene.
The French Hussars raced across the field to take the ground vacated by the dragoons. Von Luckner witnesed the collapse of the allied left as he tried to form a response the french hussars crested the rise of the hill. The French hussars looked set to sweep all before but they seemed content to sit on the hill and wait. This pause allowed Von Luckner time to reorganise his line. He then ordered his units to close up with the french at this point the french charged down the hill. The first half of this was shot off by the Hanoverian battalion. Von Luckner's hussars counter charged the approaching french horse. A swirling melee of pelisse's, saber's, mirliton's, and busby's developed both sides taking heavy loss.

The German mercenaries retreat halted at the base of the hill to the west of Emsdorf. A massive firefight developed along the line as the allied battalions pushed forward to make their numbers tell. The fragile morale of mercenaries began to crack and the efforts of Glaubitz to rally them were in vain as the line began to disintegrate before his eyes.

As the French infantry teetered on the edge of oblivion their Hussars finally broke Von Luckners hussars. Could they snatch victory from the jaws of defeat with a timely charge? Inertia again seemed to grip the French Cavalry commander, finally he pushed his units forward but it was all too late the last of the mercenary battalions had collapsed and the Hereditary Prince had closed the door.

With his T crossed the French Hussar commander retreated and was last seen muttering about a poor ground. Glaubitz looked slightly bemused on his trip to the prison camp muttering about his colleagues lack of aggressive spirit.

In the real engagement the Allies were amongst the French before they could react In a quick series of actions the french began to retreat. The persuing cavalry especially the 15th light dragoons put in a couple of telling charges capturing one battalion. The frennch managed to beat these attacks off but were finally cornered and forced to surrender. As a by note the French Hussars ran very early in the battle leaving their infantry.

Monday, 25 January 2010


Hi, well i am setting this up to keep a log of my wargaming experiences. I am just back from my first big game with the new group "anything but a one" a great refight of Marston Moor, I will write this up in my next post.