Wednesday, April 1, 2020

BACK OF BEYOND: BOKHARA 1919

On the weekend of 7/8th March I joined the AB1 Group of gamers for one of our seasonal big games – a Back of Beyond extravaganza ‘The Struggle for Bokhara’.  The game was held in the Sea Scout Hall in Methil, Fife.  The staff at the hall provided tasty morning rolls and lunch.  Chris Henry and Donald Adamson developed the scenario with Donald acting as umpire on the day.  We used Setting the East Ablaze version 2 which is a definite improvement over the original version, and it gives an enjoyable quick game.  
The Daily Llama (Jack) and Prof Pollard (Nicol) plot their victory
I was one of the 2 Bolshevik players and our objective involved completing a railway line to Bokhara.  On our table we faced hordes of Tibetan warriors and a group of Scottish archaeologists supported by various university OTCs and a non-sectarian Glasgow razor gang.  On the other table was the walled city of Bokhara, held by the Emir ad his Arab allies, which was threatened by the advancing Polish emigres and the Whites.  Ian who was going to command the Arab allies could not make it to the weekend as he was ill but not with Corona virus.  Chris took on that role substituting spare Turkish and auxiliary figures for the missing Arabs.
The Temple of Ahur Mazda
On our table we began skirmishing fairly seriously with the forces of the Daily Llama who at one point looked liable to overrun the railway.  The archaeologists were attacked by the Arabs but held them off.  Our actions ended when we realised that the Forces of Freedom had done a deal with the Emir and they were all advancing on the Altai Mountains and the railway line.  What followed was a long struggle with the 4 players from table 1 vs 4 players from table 2 and 3.  No player could pick an aircraft as part of their starting force.  They were all allocated due to special events.  The Forces of Freedom both got an aircraft and they caused havoc with their ground attacks on the way to bombing the coal yard at the Red railway depot.  I eventually got an aircraft which made 2 moves over the table before it was shot down by some White riflemen – the horror of it.  At the end we decided that Bart as the Polish player had been the most successful player due to his boldness and sheer luck in discovering additional artifacts by way of special events. However, the team prize went to the unlikely combination of Nicol and Jack who successfully got their excavated treasure back to the rail head and thence to the Hunterian Museum of the University of Glasgow via Kiev.
The Emir's palace in Bokhara and the inviolate city walls
A good fun weekend and sadly our last meeting until the Corona Virus crisis is over.    Below is a link to my photos on Flickr.

https://flic.kr/s/aHsmLW8mBT

Here are the briefing notes Donald prepared for the players:

Supreme Command of the Soviet Steppes

Players: Bill (friend of Stalin) and David (friend of Trotsky)

The Soviet Generals are very keen to take over Bokhara. So keen in fact that they are building a railway towards the city.  This may not be unconnected to gold that is contained in the Treasury of Kublai Khan which is thought to be within the city.

OBJECTIVE: Take the Treasury into the hands of the Soviet peoples!

Starting Point: Railway terminus

Forces: Each of the Generals can take 5 squads of 10 plus two support weapons plus two vehicles.

Forces of Freedom (Whites)

Players: Jim (White Russian) and Bart (Poles)

The White Russian General is happy to ally with the Emir of Bokhara, but briefly. He wants to destroy the soviet railway terminal, and if possible, pick up some loot as well.

The Polish general, firmly on the side of the Whites, is not unaware of the gold that is contained in the Treasury of Kublai Khan which is thought to be within the city. He has also heard rumours of the fabled temple of Ahur Mazda, and the legendary riches which it is said to contain.

OBJECTIVE: Destroy the railway terminal, kill reds and enrich yourselves.

Starting Point: Eastern edge of the board

Forces: Each of the Generals can take 5 squads of 10 plus two support weapons plus two vehicles.

Forces of Archaeology (and friends)

Players: Nicol (Professor Pollard) and Jack (The Daily Llama)

The Professor may be an academic, but he is not naïve. He has brought members of the OTCs of the Universities of Glasgow, St Andrews, Aberdeen and Edinburgh plus 10 thugs from the East End of Glasgow (The Billy Bhoys, a mixed religious gang). He needs to spend some time excavating, before making his way to the rail terminal where he has bribed the staff to take him to Kiev and the west.

The Daily Llama (Eton and Balliol) shares these goals, although he is keener on attacking the Bokharans and Arabs who have recently burnt a Buddhist monastery in the Altai mountains.

OBJECTIVE: Defend the Mountains and the sacred site of Ahur Mazda. Then seize the railway terminus.

Starting Point: Temple of Ahur Mazda

Forces: Professor Pollard can take 4 squads of 10 [OTC] plus 10 archaeology guards plus two support weapons plus two vehicles or planes. The Daily Llama gets five squads of Tibetans plus two support weapons plus two vehicles.

Forces of Emir of Bokhara

Players: Peter (Emir) and Ian (Arabs)

The Emir of Bokhara has trained his army on Turkish lines. He wants to destroy the Soviets and their railway terminal but does not trust the White Russian forces. He is outraged to hear that western archaeologists are in the mountains of his realm and disturbing the spirits of his ancestors in the Temple of Ahur Mazda

The Arab general shares these goals, although he is keener on attacking the Tibetan raiders (who are with the archaeologists) who have recently been raiding his oases in the south of the country,

OBJECTIVE: Destroy the railway terminal, kill reds and safeguard the sacred temple in the mountains (killing the Tibetans on the way).

Starting Point: City of Bokhara

Forces: Each of the Generals can take 5 squads of 10 plus two support weapons plus two vehicles.
Tables 2 and 3 with Bokhara - the Forces of Freedom skirt the city


The great struggle begins
Dave's Trotskyite Guard detrain - lovely red leather outfits - in background my armoured car burns

My galant aircraft - it never fired a shot!!!!

Sunday, March 1, 2020

OOPS I FORGOT THE COMMENT MODERATION TASK!

Guys
An apology I had switched on moderation of comments but somehow the system had changed over time so that it was not sending me any notifications.  I wondered why I had not seen any for a long time - now I know why.  I have adjusted the settings in blogger.

Just worked thru and approved 4 years worth of comments!!  I will try to  provide some very late responses to your questions.  My background task for the next few weeks.

Thank you all for the positive comments.  I am still an enthusiast for Black Powder as you can see in my latest Reichardtswerben game report.  I generated some fans for 75mm Wild West games using Playmobil.  I have bought more props for the wild west - including a water tower, railway depot, ranch and goldmine and these will be seen at some shows in 2021.  Should I buy the school house?  Some bargains in the Playmobil Accessories website at the moment.

Once again my apologies to everyone who commented.....

BILL

REICHARDTSWERBEN: SAXONY AUTUMN 1757– THE 2ND YEAR OF THE 3RD SILESIAN WAR

In the autumn Donald Adamson and I combined to buy Angus Konstam’s 28mm Front Rank Reichsarmee.  Donald and I both already had figures suitable for the Seven Years War.  I had 2 brigades of AWI Hessian and Brunswickers who could be employed on the Prussian side.  Over the winter I added appropriate cavalry, staff and Grenz units to my Reichsarmee contingent.  So we decided that once I had cleared my entire table from the debris of various projects that we would put on a Seven Years War game.  I finally achieved this in early February.  John Perkin brought along his French units to bolster the Reichsarmee. The first wargames book I bought was Charge or How to Play Wargames in 1967.  So the Seven Years War has always been one of my favourite periods and finally I have the toys to play it in 28mm.
The field of battle - Prussians on right - Sud Farm  in foreground - in distance the walls of Reichardtswerben
We played the game over 2 Wednesdays.  It was a fictional scenario based on the campaign in Saxony in 1757.  Sorry no prizes for guessing the historical inspiration.  We used Black powder with our alternative turn sequence with some additional 18th century rules listed at the end of this report.
Players day 1 Allied French John Perkin,  Reichsarmee  myself,  Prussian – Donald Adamson and Iain Gale.
Players day 2 Allied French John Perkin,  Reichsarmee  Tim Watson,  Prussian – Donald Adamson and Colin Jack, Umpire Myself.
Donald - Frederick the Great,  Iain - Seydlitz

John John - Charles de Rohan, Myself  - Saxe Hildburghuasen

Here is a link to my photos on flickr
https://flic.kr/s/aHsmLrG3r9

The scenario
Near Reichardtswerben Saxony autumn 1757 – the 2nd year of the Third Silesian War.

The allied French and Reichsarmee are moving slowly eastwards to join the Austrian forces in Silesia.  They are facing a force under Frederick II of Prussia which has marched from Silesia to face this incursion into his vital milch cow of Saxony.

The armies are near the small fortress town of Reichardtswerben where the Prussians camped the previous night.  The Allied commanders (Charles de Rohan duke of Rohan-Rohan, and Joseph Maria Frederick Wilhelm of Saxe Hildburghausen) are confident in their numerical superiority and have decided to manoeuvre their forces to the south of the town turning the Prussian left either to bring on a battle or at least threatening their supply lines to the east. 

The allies have 4 infantry brigades 2 French and 2 Reichsarmee with supporting cavalry, artillery and numbers of Croats.  The Prussians have 3 infantry brigades, cavalry and artillery.

As the allies begin their advance they realise that part of the Prussian army has moved south from Reichardtswerben bringing on the engagement they were seeking.
Donald massing on Schloss Ridge

Reichsarmee take position around Sud Farm

Day 1 struggle for the Wald Forest

What happened

The allies decided to use the French contingent to screen the advance of the Reichsarmee as it carried out the turning movement.   The advance did not get far as they discovered the Prussian army arrayed against them.  The Prussians engaging the French with one infantry brigade whilst their other 2 infantry brigades took on the untested Reichs infantry.  The Prussian commanders on the first day of the game, Donald and Iain, proved to be hesitant concerned due to their perceived numerical inferiority and missed their opportunity to strike a heavy blow with their ‘Superbly Disciplined’ infantry on the poor quality Reichsarmee. They made a single brigade advance on the Wald Forest which was held by the ‘Freshly Raised’ Imperial infantry and then withdrew having lost a single unit.  Their only cavalry attacked bounced of the target Reichsarmee battalion due to their disordering fire. 

On the second day of play there was a more general engagement with the Prussians launching a major attack on the Reichsarmee.  The highlight was the crushing attack of the left flank Prussian cuirassier brigade which shattered the Reichsarmee Dragoons.  However the Cuirassiers were than scattered by the gallant Hungarian Hussars  (they of the fiercer moustaches!).  Luckily the Prussian Grenadiers had carried the Sud farm and this success prevented their left flank from collapsing.  At the end of play the Prussian Army had suffered heavier losses than their stunned opponents who claimed the day.
View from north - French occupy the Waldberg - but Prussians are resolute on the line of the ridge

Walls of Reichardtswerben - defended by Prussian soldier's wives and a flock of sheep

The exhausted players after 2 days of action.

Orders of Battle

Prussian Army

3 Infantry brigades of 4 Battalions
2 Cuirassier Regts
2 Dragoon Regts
Cuir Regt & Drag Regt
3 Artillery batteries
3 Btn guns

Allied Army

2 Reichs infantry brigades of 4 battalions
2 French infantry brigades of 4 battalions
2 Grenz detachments (small units)
2 Reichs Drag Regts
2 Austrian Hussar Regts
2 French Horse Regts (small units)
2 French Dragoon Regts (small units)
4 Artillery batteries
2 Btn guns

Command Levels

The Prussian CinC was rated 9 and their brigadiers rated as 8. Reichsarmee and French commanders were rated 8 except the 2 French infantry commanders who were rated 7s.

PERIOD SPECIFIC HOUSE RULES – mainly from Last Argument of Kings

Cavalry which become Disordered by closing fire retire disordered one move.

Infantry in combat with cavalry get a +1 combat resolution if they have a flank which is secure against cavalry even if the flank is not supported by a friendly unit,  The flank is secure i.e. by a building or terrain impenetrable to cavalry.   

Artillery, other than battalion guns, once deployed cannot be manhandled or relimbered but can turn in place as a move.

Infantry in line cannot use more than 2 moves.

Friday, February 28, 2020

OPERATION CHROMITE - INCHON KOREA 1950

On Saturday 15th I joined the Gothenburg Gamers and friends for a special big game – Operation Chromite - the 1950 UN landings at Inchon during the Korean War.  The game was held in Garvald Village Hall with lunch provided in the Garvald Inn.  The troops and terrain came mainly from the collections of Colin Jack, Peter Nicholson, Chris Henry and Rob Anderson.  Chris Henry who developed the scenario altered the historical events to allow Chinese Volunteer Army reinforcements to arrive several months early to support their North Korean comrades. 

Rob Anderson and I commanded the UN (entirely US) forces landing on the southern Blue beech.  Our 2 battalions of Marines (Bolt Action Platoons) faced a few Korean troops as we landed and Rob then had to fight of a human wave counter-attack by the Chinese volunteers on his end of the beach.   We then had to move thru the southern suburbs towards the centre of Inchon but were slowed down to advance moves by the rubble blocking all the minor roads.  The landings on the northern Red beach went well but struggled with the blocked roads and were held up by more Chinese volunteers supported by T34/85s and SU-76 SPGs.  The UN had massed M7 Priests on Wolmi-do Island to support the Northern attack but they all fell victim to North Korean infiltrators as the UN failed to provide any infantry security troops for the M7s.   The UN air attacks proved relatively ineffective.  Air attacks in the Korean War supplement are much less effective than in the basic WW2 Bolt Action rules.  At the end of the game the winners were declared to be the few surviving North Koreans who still held the vital temple in the centre of Inchon.

A good fun day overall and an unusual subject.    Below is a link to my photos on Flickr.
https://flic.kr/s/aHsmLry5RV

Central Inchon - the vital temple clearly shown - before the bombardment

Rob's marines approach the beach end of Blue beach

My force disembarks on the quay front at Blue Beach

UN troops and armour pour ashore on Red Beach - note all the armour is here...and Peter Nicholson

USAF in action

The unfortunate M7s burning on Wolmi-do Island - infiltrators in action

US F4U Corsairs fill the skies

Thursday, February 27, 2020

JUNE 6 1944 - PEGASUS BRIDGE


On Wednesday Donald Adamson, Colin Jack and I played the second scenario from Warlord’s Campaign D-Day: Overlord book.  The game was staged in my garage and the centre point was the massive 4Ground Pegasus Bridge.  I have been given this to sell on eBay.  Scenario 2 is the initial British glider Coup de Main to capture the bridge.  I umpired, Colin commanded the British and Donald the surprised German defenders.

We used Bolt Action and it was a British triumph, Colin losing only 3 figures to take the bridge.  They had one fatality more than in the historical action.   The British veterans emerged from their safely landed gliders and at short range made fairly quick work of the on table dug-in Osttruppen.  This was the first time we have used the BA night fighting rules including the flare option.
During the game we had a power cut of half an hour – luckily endless candles were provided by Mrs Gilchrist - and play continued.  Here is a link to all my photos:
https://flic.kr/s/aHsmLDQ87r

We will use this layout again – scenario 3 ‘Taking the West bank’ beckons. ….if I still have the bridge.

Here is the OB
SCENARIO 2 COUP DE MAIN
BRITISH FORCES
Major Howard and companion
2nd Lieut and companion 
4 Para Sections of 2 SMG, 4 Rifles, Lmg
2 Sections of Royal Eng with SMG, 4 Rifles
3 Horsa Gliders – there must be no more than 2 sections and an officer in each glider.  Glider rules pg 200
Note - All Brits are Veterans and Stubborn.

GERMAN FORCES

On Table
5 Inexp MMGs
2 Osttruppen squads (Shirkers) of SMG, 6 Rifles
1 Inexp Med AT gun in Vt600
1 Bunker
Note - All on table units start with 1 pin marker.

In reserve on west side of bridge
Reg 2nd Lieut and 2 companions
2 Osttruppen squads (Shirkers) of SMG, 6 Rifles
Layout setup before the action

Glider 1 bursts thru the barbed wire

Major Howard opens up with his sten.  Take that Gerry!

Yes this is night time - Colin and Donald survey the scene

2nd section climb the bridge

German commander attempts to surrender to Major Howard.  Sorry sir I thought he was reaching for his gun!

Thursday, November 28, 2019

1745 AND AYE THAT!


On Monday Donald Adamson and I took forward a long term objective as we played the 1745 Campaign from ‘The Last Argument of Kings’ supplement.  I supplied the table and basic terrain and Donald provided all the troops.  The battles were fought with15mm figures and so we halved the movement and ranges in the Black Powder rules.  We used our usual alternative sequence for the rules – Initiative Moves, Shooting, Commanded Moves and Melee plus some specific amendments for the 18th century.

Donald took the part of the Hanoverian player and I was Bonnie Prince Charlie.  I rolled a 4 when I unfurled the Jacobite Royal standard at Glenfinnan giving me 5 Highland regiments so I decided to forego a reroll and marched at once to Edinburgh to meet the Sir John Cope’s army at Prestonpans.

Donald deployed his 4 infantry units in historical order with his 3 guns on their right and his 2 regiments of dragoons split to on either flank.  My right wing of 3 Highland regiments under Lord George Murray rapidly advanced and engaged Donald’s left of 2 battalions and Hamilton’s dragoons.  One infantry unit broke and fled from the terrifying Highland charge.  While the other retired and was destroyed in melee as the Highlanders followed them up.  The Dragoons repeatedly retired and then ran from the field.  My other 2 highland units screened this attack from the movement of the Hanoverian right wing.  I lost the Camerons in hand to hand combat but the arrival of the victorious right wing broke all the remaining Hanoverian units.
Prestonpans - Jacobites mass against Hanoverian left

Donald as General Cope prepares his victory message!

First Hanoverian Btn flees from the terrifying charge

Second  Hanoverian Btn broken in melee

Colonel Gardner leads his Regt home in rout

Once we did the recovery rolls I had lost no units whilst Donald had lost 3 infantry units and all his guns.  The survivors one infantry unit and the dragoons retired to join Field Marshal Wade.  I rolled badly on the Jacobite Victory table and got an upgrade to a single unit – I made a highland unit tough fighters. 

I decided to leave enough troops to effectively besiege Edinburgh and Stirling giving me another roll on the Jacobite Victory table – yet again an upgraded unit.  With only 2 units available to march into England I abandoned that plan and stayed in Scotland – giving me another roll on the Victory table –yet again an upgraded unit.  Luckily for me Donald’s Royal Navy Blockade roll was the worst he could get and I received 2 full units of Irish Piquets, a French Horse Regt and enough arms and money to make my last 2 Highland units tough fighters.

Facing an invasion of Scotland by Field Marshal Wade I decided to take the option of making a stand near Stirling and so brought on the Battle of Falkirk.  My Jacobites had their original 5 Highland regiments, now all tough fighters, the 2 full units of Irish Piquets, the French Horse Regt and 3 guns.  Donald allowing me to use the guns captured at Prestonpans – a true gentleman.  Donald as FM Wade had 14 Line infantry units, a Horse Regt, 3 Dragoon Regts and 4 guns. 

Being massively outnumbered but knowing my Highlanders Terrified all the units in the opposing army I decided to launch all the Highlanders supported by the French Horse at the Hanoverian left wing – consisting of 6 Dutch infantry Regts, a Horse Regt and a Dragoon Regt.  The Piquets and the 3 guns I deployed as a delaying force on my left wing.   So it was a bigger version of my Prestonpan’s plan.

It started well with the Highlanders and the French horse advancing a single move but then it all went wrong.  The British and French Horse met in melee and the French were pushed back 3 turns in a row before they broke.  Some truly abysmal dicing by me.  This continued and from turn 2 onwards I never managed to get the Highlanders to move.  Even using the Bonnie Princes rerolls and then his increasingly desperate follow me attempts.  Truly appalling!  The Highlanders just took more and more shooting hits without scoring much in return from the 3 Dutch battalions in the first line (they were deployed in 2 lines) and the 4 Hanoverian guns.  It was very sad.  One Jacobite highlight was a British Dragoon Regt charging a Highland unit in the rear and bouncing off!

On my left 6 British Infantry units and 2 Dragoon Regts broke the gallant Irish Piquets (2 regiments).  Watching the utter fiasco of the completely stalled Highland attack the Bonnie Prince turned his gallant steed and rode quickly for a French ship at Montrose.

It was good fun – Prestonpans was very historic and Falkirk turned into an even grimmer Culloden.

Link to all my photos on flickr
https://flic.kr/s/aHsmJMUZfH

Falkirk - the Jacobites massed to smash the Dutch wing of Wade's army

Irish Piquets doomed struggle

Highlanders stuck on the front of the ridge - immobile - Charles Edward thinking of best road to Montrose
Given the strength of the Hanoverian forces in England the Jacobites need very good rolls on the Jacobite Victory table to stand any chance of invading England.  Which I never got.  Also, they need to deploy more troops to besiege Edinburgh and Stirling Castles than the garrisons can deploy (1 Hanoverian unit is held to be in each garrison) – that commits 3 of the Jacobite units.  That rule needs changing and I think you need to set a minimum size of force that the Jacobites have to attain before they can even think of invading England.  Also another option is to give the Jacobites a +1 for each subsequent roll on the Victory table.  In addition, there has to be some option for the Jacobites avoiding Wade’s army, as happened historically, when invading England (perhaps a role of 4-6?) – If I was the Hanoverian player, I would always get Wade to march to Carlisle – what else would he do!

Anyway, great fun, and more than enough to make us want to do it again with suitable tweaks. Also we are now inspired to consider the 1715 Campaign.



JACOBITE 1745 Weapon Type
H_H
Shooting
Morale
Stamina
Useful Rules
Highland Clan Musket, Pistol, Sword Warband Infantry
7
2
4
3
First Fire, Terrifying
Lowlanders Musket Reg Infantry
6
3
4
3









French Piquets Musket Reg Infantry
4
2
4
2
First Fire, Reliable








Horse Sword, Carbine Cavalry
4
0/2
4
2
Mounted Infantry








Light Artillery Artillery Smoothbore
1
3-2-1
4
2












HANOVERIAN 1745 Weapon Type
H_H
Shooting
Morale
Stamina
Useful Rules
Guards Musket Reg Infantry
7
3
3
4
First Fire, Reliable
Line Infantry Musket Reg Infantry
6
3
4
3
First Fire
Highland Infantry Musket Reg Infantry
6
3
4
3
First Fire
Yeoman/Recruits Musket Reg Infantry
6
3
5
3
Freshly Raised
















Horse Sword Cavalry
8

4
3
Hvy Cav +1
Dragoons Sword, Carbine Cavalry
6/4
0/2
4
3
Mounted Infantry,
Freshly Raised?








Light Artillery Artillery Smoothbore
1
3-2-1
4
2












Small units reduce Hand to Hand by 2, Shooting by 1 and Stamina by 1.

First Fire           Add1 dice to first shooting

Skirmish           Can adopt skirmish formation

Reliable            Add1 to Command Level

Terrifying          Charged opponents must take a break test

Mounted Inf      Can combine a mount /dismount to any move order, cannot be combined    with a charge. On foot they skirmish.



PERIOD SPECIFIC HOUSE RULES – mainly from Last Argument of Kings

Cavalry which become Disordered by closing fire retire disordered one move.

Infantry with secure cover on a flank count this as a support in combat resolution.

Artillery, other than battalion guns, once deployed cannot be manhandled or relimbered but can turn in place as move.

Infantry in line cannot use more than 2 moves.