Sunday, March 29, 2015

Marengo - Part 3

Today we completed the game.

The end of the French 17:00 turn and Dessaix is rushing to the rescue.  Napoleon is sitting on 10 eliminated units out of a maximum of 13 (once the final reinforcements arrive at 17:30).  Melas has lost 8 out of a maximum of 12.

Ott continues to put pressure on the defenders of Castel Ceiolo.

It is necessary to go in with cold steel.  It is a very bloody affair.  One brigade of Austrians is shot up and repulsed, but they have support and after a trying fight come good on a reroll, but at heavy cost.  The French however have lost another unit, the Austrians as well, although they have remnants to rally.

Ott is now free to move up and support the final Austrian attack by Melas.

However the French Consular Guard and a brigade lead by Dessaix strike first.

Dessaix leads his men to victory and tips the Austrians over their morale limit.  They are broken, but not hopelessly broken.

There is a gap in the French lines where a brigade used to be.  Oh no, the French have now broken.

The Austrian Grenadiers were destroyed in a very protracted fight that went for three rounds and also used the last French free roll.  Very exciting stuff.  

With the loss of the grenadiers the Austrian morale has now hopelessly broken.  At the end of the 19:00 turn, both sides morale has collapsed.

It is a draw.

The Austrians, with five free roll counters left, claim a moral victory.

With Dessaix approaching Marengo, Ott would pull back to cover his line of retreat, only to find himself potentially cut off.

A challenging scenario  and one that was fascinating for exploring the end game mechanics of fatigue and breaking morale, something I can rarely call doing (normally time calls a result - the beauty of playing at home meant we could continue the game at our leisure).

While I was only umpiring (and yes, running Ott) it was a significant victory for me.
  1. My troops got some use.
  2. I got to see Stephen's troops in action.
  3. We completed a significant recreation of an historic battle.
  4. The rules worked well.
  5. I got to play test the new scenario.
  6. My movement trays worked.
  7. My large print labels worked.
  8. The printed map worked.

That is more than a win for me, plus it was a very friendly and sociable affair - thanks Mark B and Stephen N.

Cheers!

Kiev to Rostov

Last Friday Richard and I spent three hours and almost got this game set up.

http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/29875/barbarossa-kiev-rostov-1941

Apart from impressive detail and beautiful maps, what I really like about these games is that the rules are freely available.

The following image is from the Boardgame Geek site and provides some indication of size of the game.  Once we start playing I intend to post some photos of the game in play.


I spent a lot of my early years playing SPI's War in Europe.  I only briefly dabbled in the GDW update.  To me GMT have produced the next generation of this scale of game for WW2.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Marengo - Part 2

Last night, by skipping the club, we were able to continue.

Battle resumes with the fight for the village of Marengo.  The Austrian fire had been ineffective, so in they went with cold steel.

They were repulsed, but the French defenders are being worn down.  French reinforcements, Dessaix's first division, can be seen in the distance, top right hand side of the photo.

But the French were never going to be in time to save the brave defenders who were subject to a second, massed attack lead by the Austrian General Hadik which finally carried the village.  

The Austrian cavalry making a spoiling attack, but it fails. 

The Austrian Grenadiers attack.

On the left flank Ott continues his cautious attack on Castel Ceiolo.

The Austrian Grenadiers had mixed success, but now find themselves charged by Murat.  A desperate Austrian counter charge proves futile and the French ride down the grenadiers.

Only Murat remains.  There is nothing like winner's losses to eat away your elite units.  Worse, there is nothing like losing a unit at the moment of victory to have it push you over your morale limit.

Luckily Dessaix and his second division arrived just in time to restore French confidence.

The Consular Guard and a legere demi-brigade attack Kaim's division.  The Austrian's break and flee.

As it was late we paused the game.  It was proving to be an epic and we hope to complete it on the weekend. 

This morning I took a few more photos.  It is 17:00 in game time with the French to move.

Napoleon and what is left of his army.

Lannes has gone to cheer up the defenders of Castel Ceiolo, but it looks rather hopeless.  Ott's command is still relatively fresh.

The Austrian perspective.  O'Reilly's division is to the right, but it is just about dispersed and so best left out of the fighting.

Dessaix is on his way.

For the record, the Austrian morale is 12 and they have currently lost 8 units.  The French morale is 12 (going to 13) and they have lost 10.

The small units, which are a feature of this scenario, mean units are more readily dispersed (permanently eliminated).

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Marengo - Part 1

Today Stephen N and Mark B got together at my place to refight Marengo.  This was a refight of a scenario I had done two months ago with Richard, but this time using a printed playing surface.  I umpired, but also took Ott's command.  Stephen was Melas and Mark Napoleon.

The French deployed on the Marengo plain.

Victor's troops deployed around the town of Marengo, behind the Fontanone Creek.

The Austrians.  Note improved movement trays and large print labels, specially designed to blend in with the playing surface.

The scenario allows the Austrians to deploy within six inches (six hundred yards) or the French.  It's a tight fit.

Ott arriving in march column.  It is good to see those limbers getting some use.

At the end of 10:30 the Austrians have advanced Elsnitz's cavalry across the Fontanone Creek and into the marsh.

The French move Lanne's corps to Castel Ceiolo.

11:00 and the French launch an all out cavalry charge against the Austrian horse still entangled in the marsh.  (The units are roughly equal - all 12 figures strong, but the Empire basing of Stephen's Austrian figures doesn't translate well to Napoleon's Battles basing.)

The French seemed to have formed a solid line...

The cavalry clash was inconclusive.  The Austrians have pushed round the French left flank and driven off one of Victor's brigades.  Napoleon has arrived (top left hand corner).

The Austrian's make a combined arms attack on the remaining brigade of Gardanne' division.  This was amazingly successful and Frimont's cavalry went on to cause havoc, running through the French left, cutting down routers and threatening Napoleon himself.  He was only saved by a lucky use of a free roll that turned a captured result into a minor wound.

12:00 and while Napoleon was being covered in gory glory blood, the Austrian cavalry recovered from their earlier set back and charged...

Murat handled his cavalry with the skill expected and the Austrian cavalry are severely repulsed.  What is left of Elsnitz's division is now fatigued. In the top middle can be seem the Austrian cavalry who gave Napoleon a near run thing.

Marengo is surrounded, but the Austrians make no impression on its defenders.

Ott has been rather tardy in his advance, behaving with excessive conservatism.

Murat strikes!  Despite a free roll, the Austrian grenadiers twice fail to form square and are ridden down.  They sweep round the rear of Morzin's grenadier division into O'Reilly's command routing a brigade of Grenz and supporting light cavalry.

14:00 and French reinforcements are arriving.

At this stage we had played for around six hours and we adjourned till a later date.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Wings of Lucky Escape

Last night at the club I took to the air again, this time in a Sopwith Snipe accompanied by Mark B who had control of another Snipe and an Airco DH.4 on a mission deep inside enemy territory.  We flew straight into a flock of Fokkers: two yellow ones flown Stephen N, a zebra flown by Greg and the Red Baron himself flown by Matthew on his first flight.

I'm bottom right hand corner, very close to the edge.

Into the storm,  This turned out to be a game of chicken that resulted in various levels of damage  inflicted due to collisions.

Greg in the zebra stripped Fokker and I have flipped over executing Immelmann turns to get into a tailing position.  May guns jammed.

More games of chicken.  Around this time I realised I needed to fly further into German territory to complete the mission.

The DH.4 observer gets in a shot.

Mark B sets the poor Red Baron on fire.

Again I have set myself up well only to have my guns jam.

And I'm getting a lot of attention.

The DH.4 gets a kill.  However both it and Mark B's Snipe have taken a lot of damage and head for home.

Leaving me, on fire, deep in enemy territory to battle my way out alone.

And I did it!

I was extremely lucky.  Stephen was able to catch me in the end, but suffered a gun jam on his closing burst.  Phew!

The unofficial leaderboard, noting that flying two planes counts as two sorties and doubles your chances of deaths and kills.