Thursday, 30 April 2015

Black Powder: Battle of Gorodeczna

We continued our 1812 campaign last Saturday with the battle of Gorodeczna. In this battle a Russian army had to fight a holding action to keep a combined Austro-Saxon army at bay long enough to withdraw their army intact. The Austro-Saxon army outnumbered the Russians 2:1 and had surprised the Russians with a flanking manoeuvre, so the task was not an easy one.

The battle unfolded nicely, with the flanking attack by the Saxons forcing the Russians to redeploy their forces into a dangerously thin crescent. The attacking Austro-Saxons had some trouble with coordinating their moves and getting their men into position, which hampered their attack. The frontal attack by the Austrians across the river was launched perhaps too soon and took heavy casualties. Meanwhile the Saxons were taking too long to engage the Russian flank.

In the end, the Russian right flank held its own admirably whereas its left took a bad beating and was forced to withdraw in disarray. The Russian centre - engaged from three sides - suffered the worst punishment and was essentially destroyed. At the close of the battle (turn 10 - roughly 16.00 historically) the Russians had managed to hold the French back, but their situation was rapidly deteriorating. The Russian right was strong and the centre could hold its own due to large Russian cavalry reserves being committed there. However the Russian left flank was disintegrating so the remainder of the army would have to hurry if they wished to avoid encirclement. Losses were roughly equal, with approximately 10 battalions broken on either side and perhaps 5 more shaken per side (out of some 40 Austro-Saxon battalions and 20 Russians).

Our (= my) assessment of the situation is that the Russians had suffered proportionately far worse than the Austro-Saxons, yet were in a position to withdraw their army and regroup a still battle worthy force. The Austro-Saxons had failed to destroy the Russians or prevent them from withdrawing, yet they had put the Russian position into such dire straits that the Austro-Saxons can justifiably be hailed as the victors of this battle.

A view of the battlefield from behind the Russian "crescent". Our gallant generals engage in lively academic debate.

Austrian cavalry attempting to force a crossing

Stoic Russian infantry holds firm

Saxon troops (being represented by Austrian miniatures) outflanking the Russians

Russian cavalry on flank-guard duty

The remnants of the Russian centre attempt to extricate themselves

Austrian cavalry routs the remnants of the Russian centre

Massed Saxon artillery

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Bolt Action: Seize the crossroads!

Last night we played a game of Bolt Action with my mechanized SS facing against the armoured might of Herkko's US 2nd armoured. This was our first "real" tank war game and we decided to fight the "Bastogne" scenario, where the Germans were holding a crucial crossroads which the Americans had to capture. I started with an infantry unit, panzerschreck team and a HMG team holding the crossroads with two more mechanized squads, a lieutenant, a Wespe and two Panzer IVs in reserve. The Americans had two infantry squads, a bazooka team, .30 cal machine gun, lieutenant and four Shermans, of which half were in reserve.

The crossroads from the American deployment zone

Heavily armed Germans are ready to meet the attackers

US infantry jump-off point

US armour take up flanking positions

German panzers enter from reserve and open fire on the American tanks

Detroit steel is no match for accurately placed 75mm rounds: score 1 - 0 for the Germans!

Wespe races to take up positions at the crossroads and scores a glancing hit on one of the Shermans

Panzerschreck team redeploys across the street

SS Panzergrenadiers race to the rescue in hanomags

The Yankee horde advances cautiously

German infatry deploys

An unfair match-up: SdKfz 251/10 going head-to-head with an "easy eight" Sherman

US infantry prepare to assault the town - only to be pinned down by massive small arms fire

More Shermans enter the fray. One Panzer IV takes a direct hit and detonates, the other Panzer takes a glancing hit which spooks the crew into retreating behind some cover.

The Wespe is easy pray to the American bazooka

SS-infantry reserves bolster the front. Panzerfausts primed!

One of the Shermans advances dangerously close. Close-range panzerfausts and panzerschreck fire fails to destroy it but leaves the crew bailed out.

The remaining Panzer IV returns to the fight. Triple six and scratch another Sherman!

What a beautiful sight!

Tank-hunters creep up to the Shermans. It's amazing how you can miss at this range!
In the end, the game went to the Germans. The American ran out of time and men in trying to assault the strong German position and with some lucky fire the Panzers worsted the Shermans. There was one point where the Americans were ready to assault the village, but at that crucial point the US infantry refused to follow orders. The mission was definitely not easy for them and, retrospectively, they should have had a few more men or some support in order to flush out the heavily fortified SS-veterans.

Whilst we were playing our late-war game, an early war battle between Germans and French was being fought on the neighbouring table. Here are a few pics but a more detailed description can be found on my friend's blog.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Altar of Freedom: Seven Pines

On Saturday Antti, Samuli and I gathered at the club to play the battle of Seven Pines with the Altar of Freedom rules. This battle was fought for the control of the Confedereate capital Richmond, which was being threatened in May 1862 by a huge Federal army led by general McClellan.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Thirty years (war)

Today is my thirtieth birthday. This seemed like the perfect excuse for me to present one of my (many) side projects: Thirty Year's War in 10mm.

The Thirty Year's War is a very interesting and complex conflict, which is part of the stuff I research professionally. As a bonus, it's a very rich topic for wargamers due to the numerous large battles and dynamic campaigns involved.

For over a year, I've been toying around with the idea of building two opposing forces for this conflict. Inspired by the work of Sigur on the Warlord Games forum, I decided to go with 10mm miniatures from Pendraken and Old Glory. These minis are lovely, being very detailed yet small and simple enough to paint so that I can easily create large and visually appealing formations.

Here is the first such formation, the Swedish Västgöta cavalry regiment:

The full regiment - 8 stands with each representing roughly 50 men

My long-term aim is to model the Swedish and Imperial armies that fought at Lützen in 1632. The scale I use is approximately 1 miniature = 15-20 men. Even with this scale and 10mm miniatures this is quite a large project, which is why I'm approaching this more as a nice side project which to engage in when I feel inspired to paint some TYW stuff. Right now it looks like you'll be seeing more of this in the near future :)

Supporting literature

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Bolt Action: Waffen SS

Over the fall and winter one of my main projects has been to put together an army for Bolt Action. I've had a bunch of Warlord Games' excellent Waffen SS miniatures lying in my cupboard for ages, and the Bolt Action mania that has been raging at our club was the perfect motivator for me to put them together.

I quite like the varied and personalized feel of the metal range provided by Warlord Games and I tried to get the force even more motley by painting them with a mixture of summer and autumn oakleaf parkas with some fieldgrey thrown in. The force is heavily equipped with MG42s, STG 44s and panzerfausts and is fully mechanized, as befits these elite troops.

Fire and movement

About every third guy has got a panzerfaust

The designated AT-guy (probably the newest replacement)

Who needs an assault rifle when he's got a knife and a bad attitude

MG42 team

Sniper and panzerschreck

Forward observer. I need to redo the (failed) splintermuster camo at some point.

Two Panzers are surely better than one?


Three hanomags. I painted the "doorknocker" SdKfz 251/10 to give my boys more punch when fighting in urban areas

The full force
I still have two squads of infantry and some support weapons to paint. However, with competing projects piling up, we'll see when I finally get around to these.