Monday, 17 October 2016

Carpet Bombing in Operational Games.

We are two weeks off our next operational game and Mark has asked that I clarify the rules on carpet bombing.

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A King Tiger, flipped over during carpet bombing!

I look at this as a similar function to preliminary bombardments in our WW1 games.  In WW2 I would say the equivalent is a naval bombardment, a pre-offensive bombardment, like at Alamein or Kursk, a Soviet artillery concentration which they used for all their offensives from late 1942 on-wards and, of course, a heavy bomber attack used by the western allies in Italy and Northwest Europe.

The Rules

A carpet bombing attack costs 250 points.
Depending on the year and campaign the defender is told to create a possible army reserve costing 125 points without knowing if the attacker will use carpet bombing.
The attacker chooses a table before the game begins.
Once the defender has laid out all their defending troops and before the attacker begins play the umpire announces that a carpet bombing attack has occurred against a particular table.
No HQ on that table can receive an order change until after it has been under direct fire (If the attacker never goes onto that table then the disruption caused by the bombing will neutralise the defenders for the whole game).
If fighting does occur on that table then whenever a defending unit is revealed a D6 is rolled; 4,5 disordered, 6 dead!  Neither side will be able to judge how effective the carpet bombing is until combat occurs.
The defender may call on their army reserve of 125 points at any point in the game, but will lose one game point from their final score.  The defender must decide if this is worth it.

My Thinking

The reasoning for the above is to simulate an operational feature we never get to play.  The attacker has an option to plaster a particularly important table; neutralise 1c with its fortress like town, neutralise 2c which carried the bulk of the German reserves in the previous game, or ensure a back table is disrupted before a paratroop drop.  The defender can call on extra reserves as high command is fully aware that a carpet bombing strike preludes a major attack and is therefore willing to send special reserves.  However, these reserves are not being used elsewhere and the local commander must make a serious decision as to whether these army reserves are really required; hence the loss of a game point which is not worth while if the defender is not going to do something interesting with them.

Both sides need to make decisions and the carpet bombing adds another layer of depth without making things complicated.

Let me know what you think.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

6mm wargame companies and their lack of customer service!

Some time ago I remember speaking to Jon about his frustrating experience with Heroics and Ros.

Jon had placed an order, the money had been taken out of his account and yet he was expected to sit and wait with no communication whatsoever for his order to arrive whenever Andy Kirk could be arsed making it.

Jon was never really considered in the equation only that the money he parted with was now in the hands of Mr Kirk. Jon tried to contact Andy for an update but I think in the end he said enough was enough.

Jon has since been purchasing his 6mm from Baccus and I understand that he has received better service but not sure of late as to how this service has been?

Here then is my story....

I too had enough of Andy Kirk and his shit customer service. As you know I told him what I though about his customer service, that's the type of guy I am!

Since then I have placed a few orders with Baccus and have noticed a deteriorating level of service from them.

I was used to waiting a maximum of two weeks for a delivery, no matter how large.

Last Month I ordered the paltry sum of 2 packs of WW2 British Para Mortars. That's less than 20 figures. I also ordered a pot of wash and some scatter.

I waited for a Month before e mailing and then the goods arrived. Shocking.

To add to my frustration I placed an order with Rapier on 12th September for a Gaul army.

The £65 quickly left my account and here we are on the 16th October and I have still not seen the goods.

I actually e mailed Rapier on the 29th September and was told in writing that the order would be shipped out commencing 3rd October.

Last Thursday I sent another e mail requesting an update.

They never bothered to reply

I have decided that if it does not show up tomorrow I will take this up with Pay Pal disputes and get my money back.

Perhaps this is just me but from where I am sitting the service from these manufacturers is nothing short of woeful.

Heroics and Ros - let's not mention them....

Rapier Miniatures - NEVER AGAIN.

Baccus - not far behind.

I am afraid that I am done with these three companies. Maybe it is because Pete Berry is having to look after his kids and he continues to employ the Egor to cast his orders.

Baccus have certainly been at the forefront of 6mm in terms of improving the range of figures available over the last few Years but........

Better marketing and better website plus loads of new releases = more demand

Too much demand - not enough resources to handle demand = longer lead times = more pissed off customers

As for Andy Kirk, he can be forgiven as he is more interested in his day job.

Rapier miniatures are an abomination of a company.

I will end my rant by stating that companies like Adler Miniatures lead my example.

As far as ranges go Adler offer a huge Napoleonic range plus a great WW2 range and then they do 10mm stuff too.

Never had to wait more than 3 weeks for a large order, ever.

It's worth a mention that I have ordered from Magister Millitum and Pendraken fairly recently and have received my order within 2 weeks.

The problem for me now is that I have no confidence ordering from these people and I can't see another pathway in front of me.

As I am looking at ancients again I will switch to 10mm, that's cast in stone.

Micro armour  - well I have enough to be happy with. I have a WW2 British Army, a WW1 British and German Corps and have my WW2 Paras. That's a result for me.

As for Heroics & Ros, Baccus and Rapier, yes they may sell nice shiny 6mm figures but from my own experiences with all of them they have all failed to provide what I believe to be a decent level of customer service.

People say as you get older you become less tolerant!

Friday, 14 October 2016

950th Anniversary Battle Of Hastings

To mark the 950th anniversary of the Battle Of Hastings Ian put on a game at his house last night.

I was to take the Norman army whilst Mark and Phil played the Saxons.

Initial deployment - historical......

My plan was slightly different which is one of the fun things about wargaming, you can do things differently!

I took the French Flemish contingency from the right flank and dumped it over on the left. I wanted to try and punch through the Saxon right flank.

The battle started off and I got things moving quickly. I had managed to send up my knights who took a few kicks in the process but with the pursuit rules eventually drew the Saxons off the hill and there was a break in the line. It took me a while to move my other forces forward as I kept failing orders with William and Otto.

I made good use of my Norman archers who managed to keep on pouring fire and disruption down on the Saxon centre where Harold was positioned. It was a frantic battle of shooting and rallying to try and keep the Saxon line fresh.

The fighting ebbed and flowed for several game time hours and eventually I was able to break the Saxon right flank completely. This forced Phil to order a good chunk of Saxon reserves from the other flank across the back of the battle line to plug the open hole over on the right.

At this time I managed to get organised and send orders which group moved my main line forward up the hill. I saw an opportunity which if I could of exploited could of smashed through in the centre as there were a lot of Saxon stands carrying disorder with Phil's reserve behind.

It's all kicked off on the hill....

It was at this point things suddenly turned in favour of Harold. Phil was quick to launch a well calculated counter attack on my right flank and so charged down the hill against my troops which had been disordered by the Saxon spears. I got thumped good style and lost 6 stands in one combat round.

My right flank had just collapsed and it was not looking so good now.

I had to try and think fast and come up with some rescue plan. I decided to retire all my knights down off the hill to see if I could rally them. This would involve moving Otto over but he really did not want to play and I failed a few orders in the process.

Up on the flank side I had punched through Phil sent in his reserve and managed to hold the line. There was a lot of scrapping going on and in the centre Harold was being shot turn on turn and could not keep up with the rallying of his own stand and others in the line.

Time was now pushing on in the day as the combats were using up a hour at a time and had to get the job done by 6.30pm

We were at 2.30 now so I had to press on.

I tried once again to attack the Saxons with my archers to try and weaken them but the dice gods had given up on me by now and my arrows did little damage. Meanwhile I was getting javelinned to death and the battle was fast reaching a critical point.

I managed to rally some of my Knights but Phil was stomping down the hill mopping up on the other side of the table.

At this stage he had to leave but was convinced that the Saxons had this one in the bag so left with a cheery smile on his face, leaving Mark to finish the job.

It turned out that as soon as Phil had left the room the battle swung - Bi polar style in favour of the Normans.

I don't know how I managed it but I rolled a shed load of orders which allowed my to rally my knights and front line plus I was able to attack the straddling forces that Phil was using with my cavalry and re enforce the attack in the centre.

Harold and his merry bunch had been arrowed to death again and I fell back with the archers allowing my front line of infantry to smack into the Saxon centre.

The combats where bloody and well contested but it was looking increasingly likely that Harold was doomed and the very next turn he was killed by the Norman onslaught.

We had reached 6.00pm at this point and somehow I had managed to snatch what appeared to be a straight forward Saxon victory 4 hours earlier into a glorious Norman recovery.

Ian called it and it was clear that without Harold on the field the Saxons had been beaten.

An excellent game and one I will remember for a good while. I am still unsure as to how I turned this one around!

My knights sweep up against Phil's mob on the right.....

Saxon Casualties at the end of the day

Final snaps of the battle

Thanks to Ian for putting the game on and well played to Mark & Phil.

I managed to get back to Birkenhead before 12.30am but had already turned into a pumpkin by then..

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

ILYA MOUROMETZ V (russian wwi bomber)

Mark gave me this bugger to paint some time ago and having stared at it a number of times through the plastic bag I have to say I didn't fancy it and it kept getting thrown back into the 'to do' box. Too many struts.

However our recent foray into WWI convinced me to let this monster out of its incarceration and attempt to put it together and paint it.

Never in the field of war gaming has so many swear words been hollered at one miniature or for that matter at an absent Shakespeare ,however I finally managed to keep the fecker together and I am quite pleased with the out come.

Unfortunately I am well aware that Russ will break this in retribution for the Gotha affair.

Now I have to paint the sodding fighter.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Grande army ancients

just some pics of my ancients using the grande armee basing
Spanish backed up by African foot

gauls , celtish cavalry and numidians

Roman legion in three line cohorts

Roman Italian allies and cavalry

Hastati front rank Pricepts second rank both with velite skirmishers

Gauls warband and elephants with skirmishers

Spanish and African foot with plenty of skirmishers

Numidians are skirmish cavalry


Operational game for WW1 spearhead
Table D1 was left clear for a supposed quick run to the trench line

table C1 the correct approach
blast the hell out of the landscape

table C2

table 3B untouched

table 1D and the Germans have been culled in the open

German off table artillery and air force

Allied off table assets

The fort dies

All that is left from a German division limps onto table 2D

The Germans love gas

Table 2C where the real fighting is

Marks German division passed 3 of its 4 morale rolls
Gut ya !!
Jon's French didn't and the rout to table 3 is open

Table 2C still in the balance

Cheers Gents
A fine way to spend a day

Friday, 7 October 2016

Battle of Stamford Bridge

Next week on 15th October it is the 950th anniversary of the battle of Hastings.  I can't believe it's 10 years since I put on the last commemoration!

So, last night we played Stamford Bridge (25th September 1066) as a practice for next week.  Phil played the Vikings under Harold Hardrada and Russ took on the Saxons under Harold Godwinson.

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Fully armoured Vikings with the Raven Banner.

Harold Hardrada is a very interesting character.  Former captain of the elite Varangian Guard of the Byzantine Empire, he married a Kievan princess and returned to Norway as probably the richest man in northern Europe; so he killed the Norwegian king and took the job on himself!  Fearless in battle he was also a famous poet who would often compose before going into battle.

Tostig Godwinson, brother of Harold Godwinson, has been forced out of his earldom of Northumberland by his brother and has gone to Hardrada to seek revenge.  Both are in cahoots with Duke William of Normandy and agree a two pronged invasion of England.

Hardrada invades first banking on support through Tostig in the north and probably banking on the Saxons and Normans weakening each other in battle before he marches south and takes the whole kingdom for himself.

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Saxon shield wall and the Banner of Wessex

Our battle begins at Stamford Bridge near York shortly after the Saxon army of the North has been defeated by the Vikings at the battle of Fulford Gap.  Hardrada and Tostig are waiting for a deputation from York that has agreed to meet them with a ransom and hostages for the protection of the city.  The Vikings are lounging around the meeting field without armour and looking forward to a celebration once the supplicants arrive.

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Berserker on the bridge.  Apparently he was killed with a spear up the jacksie!  Look to the bottom right.

However, it's Harold Godwinson that has turned up determined to destroy the Viking threat before the Normans invade.  In a bold move, he has force marched his core troops north but he must force his way across a bridge and defeat Hardrada before Viking reinforcements arrive.
York to the left, the Humber to the right of the river.  Vikings randomly rolled for around the right bank, Saxons storming from the left.  On the bridge is a lone Viking berserker (honest!)

Phil's Vikings are placed randomly around the right bank of the river.  He desperately rolled to rally them onto the bridge and prevent the Saxons overwhelming him.  The berserker on the bridge held the Saxons up for 40 minutes before Russ stormed across with a command base.  However, Tostig killed the Saxon Lord and took a stand on the Bridge before he too was killed by a renewed Saxon assault.

We used variable time to judge when the Viking reinforcements would arrive and Phil tried hard to shore up the defence of the bridge and hold on.  Tostigs death robbed him of his only other commander and Hardada just didn't have enough command rolls to move all his troops into position.  Over a couple of hours of game time Russ built up a bridge head until Phil was forced to fall back Hardrada onto the hill with his few remaining followers.

Hardrada supported only by bows holds off Godwinson on the hill.  Viking reinforcements arrive from the bottom but they are tired from the forced march and all have 1 level of disorder.
Uphill and with only bowmen in support, Hardrada does just enough to delay Harold Godwinson from wiping him out.  Viking reinforcements arrive, tired but desperate to help her their threatened King.  Russ senses that a crisis point has arrived but struggles to organise his shield wall under the barrage of arrows.  Phil also knows the battle is on a knife edge and tries to rally his reinforcements before charging them into the Saxons.  Russ acts first sending a lone contingent of Huscarls into the Viking reinforcements, further disordering their formation.  However, the Viking bowmen on the hill are proving deadly and Harold Godwinson is very nearly a victim.  Russ decides to pull back his shield wall out of range of the arrows and reorder his troops.

Meanwhile, Russ is also trying to get his remaining army across the bridge whilst
Phil is rolling to recover disorder points from his battered reinforcements.  A pause in the battle is being used by both sides to reorganise before a final reckoning.

End point.  Russ has attempted to outflank and charge the disordered Vikings but Phil has managed to manoeuvre this force onto the hill and combine it with Hardrada's bowmen.

The Saxon reserves eventually march across the bridge and form line against the Viking flank.  Harold Godwinson reorganises his main force whilst weathering the storm of viking arrows when disaster strikes - he gets one in the eye and the Saxons are reduced to one leader.  Unable to initiate a combined final charge Russ is forced to watch Phil extricate his troops and place them in a powerful position on the hill.  As dusk descends the Saxons are unwilling to attack the Vikings and both sides accept a stand off.

Maybe the Vikings withdraw in the night and the Saxons elect a new leader to fight the Normans.  Maybe the Saxons accept Hardrada as their new King, combine and march south to battle William, or maybe both sides are so weakened that there is no battle of Hastings and Duke William merely marches on London and takes the vacant crown.  This is a campaign that could have had many different outcomes and proves how pivotal 1066 is in our history.

An excellent game, very well played by Phil and Russ, who both got to grips with the tactical subtleties of the rules very quickly.  Looking forward to Hastings next week.  I'll put the game on at my house - Jon, Mark can you confirm whether you will be there?