Friday, 25 March 2016

End of an era: The battle of Clontarf

What better way to celebrate Good Friday than to re-fight the Battle of Clontarf, fought on Good Friday 1014. Our game was fought with 6 players and using Hail Caesar rules. The game was a well-planned custom scenario, which acted as a climactic ending to our Saga campaign.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Great Northern War - Pskovski infantry regiment

So, we're starting a Great Northern War (1700 - 1721) campaign at our club. I didn't have any models for the period, but it wasn't a tough sell to convince me to purchase more toys.

Well, here is the first unit painted: the Russian Pskovski infantry regiment in the uniforms worn at the battle of Poltava 1709. The pretty little miniatures are from Warfare Miniatures.

The sergeant has his hands full maintaining order

The colonel has positioned his regiment just beyond the range of enemy artillery

Bolt Action gaming day 3

Another Bolt Action gaming day at the club. This time we had four scenarios run by games masters: Burma Road, Operation Market Garden, El Alamein and Portinhoikka. For a change, I wasn't running any of the games and instead just took part in the Portinhoikka game.

Operation Market Garden

A platoon of British paratroopers had to hold out against a larger German force.

In the end, the Germans outflanked the British paras and overwhelmed their positions.

Burma road. Commonwealth forces composed of  Chindits and Gurkhas had to make a breakthrough along the road in a night attack.

Japanese forces lurk in the jungle.

Gurkhas lead the Commonwealth assault.

A Japanese soldier lies in ambush - in the end, the Japanese managed to counter-attack the Chindits and block any attempts of a breakthrough.

El Alamein: The Germans attempt to breach the British lines

Afrika Korps

British commandoes

The most spectacular and the largest game was a custom-made scenario of the battle of Portinhoikka, where Soviet 45th Guard armoured division attempts to capture a crucial cross-roads from the Finns in the Karelian isthmus in June 1944. Historically, the assault was stopped by a Finnish armoured counter-attack.

Portinhoikka cross-roads as viewed from the south (Soviet deployment zone)

Finnish blocking forces have taken positions at the cross-roads

The Soviet advance was preceded by a small armoured reconnaissance detachment (non-historically a BA-10 armoured car and T-26 obr 1931 light tank), which pushed forward aggressively. The Finnish PaK-40 anti-tank gun at the crossroads opened up prematurely and gave away their positions. The BA-10 reacted quickly and put the gun out of action with a lucky shot. The reconnaissance elements then radioed in the positions of the Finnish forces (removed "hidden" status). The Finns took their vengeance by taking out the BA-10 with accurate mortar fire, but this was little consolation for the lost anti-tank gun.

Soviet reconnaissance moves forward aggressively

Soon, the Soviet main force started to push forward en-masse. Three T-34/85 tanks and a platoon of infantry raced forward. The Finns had advanced with a squad of infantry, which opened fire on the attacking Soviets and distracted their advance. However, this was only a minor hiccup and soon the Finnish squad was routed and the main forces at the crossroads were struggling to hold their positions. Help was urgently needed!

The Soviet main force arrives


Finnish forward positions just before being overwhelmed.

Finnish reserves began arriving from the north (opposite to the Soviet entry point). Several squads of infantry, a KV-1 and a T-34/76 raced to the rescue and opened fire on the Soviets, which were already at the crossroads. The T-34/76 was manned by a Finnish tank-ace Reino Lehväslaiho, who quickly despatched the enemy's lead tank. This Soviet tanks manoeuvred into better cover and returned fire with great effect. Soon both Finnish tanks were knocked out together with a Finnish panzerschreck team that advanced a bit too boldly. Reino survived the hit and continued the fight on foot together with two of the crew.

Finnish reserves race to the rescue

Soviet tanks try to hold the cross-roads long enough for the infantry to secure it

Finnish tanks knocked out

The Soviet tanks were busy congratulating themselves when a new threat appeared - two StuGs rumbled onto the battlefield from the east. The StuGs quickly flanked the disoriented Soviet tanks
and knocked one out. By this time, the Soviets had received further reinforcements in the form of two more T-34/85s and a platoon of infantry. The reinforcements were desperately needed, as the Soviet first wave had become bogged down just south of the crossroads due to losses and withering fire. The StuGs had advanced too far without support and were assaulted by Soviet infantry near the crossroads. One of the Stugs was quickly despatched and the other was forced to retreat. With a shout, the Soviet infantry raced forward and stormed the crossroads. This was too much for the Finns, who turned tail and ran. Victory for the Soviets!

Finnish Stugs outflank the Soviet tanks

Tanks are burning

Soviet infantry captures the cross-road. The price has been high for both sides.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Return to Grimdark

As with most gamers, I originally got into the hobby with Games Workshop's games. These used to be all the rage, and I even worked as a GW salesman for some five years during my studies. Slowly, other games infiltrated my hobby time and my massive Fantasy and Warhammer 40K collections haven't seen any action for the past 3-4 years. It was high time to return to the Grimdark!

We decided to play a 1.500 point game of Warhammer 40K with a good friend, whom I originally met via 40K some 15 years ago. Fortunately he'd been playing the game recently and could inculcate me in the newest set of rules. The scenario pit my loyal Space Marines against traitorous Chaos Marines and their Daemonic allies. The Chaos Marines had desecrated the ruins of an Imperial temple and opened a portal through which they had begun to summon all manner of hellish fiends. My objective was to capture and close the portal. Secondary objectives were to rescue a downed Space Marine pilot and extract a portable monitoring station.

My force consisted of a demi-company of marines from the Raptors chapter (50 space marines following "Codex" organization) led by Chaplain Kerberos. Due to the unholy nature of the mission, this task-force was reinforced by Librarian Nestor and a squad of Terminators, who would be arriving from deep-strike. A squad of Chaos Marines, Keeper of Secrets, Dreadnought and a Maulerfiend were deployed within the temple. Plenty more Chaos filth would be arriving from the warp.

Unholy rites taking place within the desecrated temple

Not a man left behind!

I started the game by rushing forward with most of my army. In the centre, two Tactical squads raced forward in Rhinos, while a squad of Assault Marines hovered closely behind. A third Tactical Squad advanced on my right and rapidly formed a perimeter around the wounded pilot. My Devastators had been split into two 5-man squads and took up good firing positions on either flank.

Devastators take up firing positions

Rhino transports advance under a smoke screen

As soon as my loyalists approached, the forces of Chaos spewed forth from the temple. The Keeper of Secrets took to its wings and started casting nasty spells on my forces. The daemonic war-engines rushed for my marines, with the Maulerfiend ripping open one of the Rhino transports. A second Rhino was fortunately protected by the smoke screen.

Chaos monstrosities spill forth and rapidly wreck the one of the Rhinos

Unperturbed, my marines raced forward to secure the temple. Supported by Nestor's deep-striking terminators, a squad of tactical marines and a squad of assault marines stormed the temple and knocked out the Chaos Dreadnought and most of the Chaos Marines. Purple fires flickered and black shadows flashed at the edge of the marine's vision as reality was ripped asunder. In an instant, these shadows had materialized into a might Daemon Prince and a great score of lesser daemons.

The daemons unleashed horrible psychic attacks on the marines, who stood their ground and unleashed a storm of sanctified bolter rounds and flamer gushes at the daemons. This did not deter the unholy daemons, who assault the loyalist marines both within the temple and near the secondary objectives.

Space Marines storm the temple

Daemons emerge...

... and more daemons ...
... and more daemons!

Furious combat erupts on the objective

In a few graceful strides, the Daemon Prince was upon Nestor and his bodyguard. The ancient Space Marine Librarian knew what was coming, said a few blessed words and readied his force axe and storm shield. The Space Marine hero parried the Daemon's strokes, but that was all he could do. The Daemon moved with unholy speed and even with the gift of psychic foresight, the Librarian was hard pressed to keep up. The parries were becoming ever more sluggish, until the revered Space Marine hero finally missed his mark. The Daemon Prince's blade sliced through Nestor's armour like a knife through butter. At first, the cut seemed pleasant, even rapturous. The caress of the daemonic sword was fickle though and, in the blink of an eye, the sensation became one of utmost agony. The Librarian died screaming.

A struggle of titans

The lesser daemons infesting the temple were eliminated after a short combat, after which the remaining marines turned to assist the beleaguered Librarian. The succour came too late and the marines were forced to watch as their champion was struck down. With a savage scream, Chaplain Kerberos led the tactical and assault marines against the Daemonic monstrosity. The Daemon Prince struck down a great many of the marines, but there were simply too many of the Emperor's Finest. In the end, the daemonic monstrosity was overwhelmed and sent back to the Warp.

The Daemon Prince is overwhelmed

The Daemonic incursion had been repelled in other sectors as well, and the Space Marines now controlled most of the battlefield. The few remaining Chaos Marines fled the field and the Space Marines proceeded to despatch the few remaining daemons from this world. Chaplain Kerberos hurriedly closed the Chaos portal and started the arduous process of re-sanctifying the temple with blessings and holy seals. This incursion had been stopped before it could get out of hand, but where would the arch-enemy strike next?