Saturday, 11 June 2016

Project Jutland - The Last of the Big Guns

German Dreadnoughts Completed 

SMS Th├╝ringen and Ostfriesland
Hi everyone welcome back to Project Jutland, a bit of a mini update, which; never the less is a bit of a milestone in the grand scheme of things.

Presented here are the last 6 German Dreadnoughts required to complete the Big Guns for the game, all the Dreadnoughts, Pre Dreadnoughts and Battlecruisers are done, hurrah  !

The 4 ships of the Nassau Class
These remaining 6 ships were in a back order from Magister Militum who had run out of stock post Salute and had to reup from the States. It's a bit of a micro batch for me as I have tended to do bigger groups of ships previously.


A couple of Helgoland Class ships
All the ships are manufactured by GHQ in 1/2400 scale, if you are wondering about the basing, I did a tutorial on the method a while back which you can find HERE.

SMS Nassau to you
SMS Nassau to me
It seems like a bit of a shame to have finished all the big stuff but I am sure once Project Jutland is complete I can find some space for a couple of 15" Badens.


SMS Posed firing her broadside.
And just in case you thought I had nothing left, here is batch 5 awaiting base sculpture, only 52 Destroyers and Torpedo Boats.


Monday, 6 June 2016

1st Battle of Newbury 1643 - Scenario

English Civil War Action


The Royalist Army
The behemoth that is Project Jutland seems to be taking up the majority of my gaming activities at the moment so its nice to get the green cloth out of storage and blow the dust off our 28mm ECW collection.

I always seem to spend ages deciding which battle to do in this period and the original plan was Cropredy but I still can't find a decent map for it so I eventually decided on 1st Newbury. It's a big old game and I ended up deciding figure ratios based solely on the number of Royalist Cavalry I had available.

Due to the size of the game and the length of the orbat I have split the posts in two, the game is still in progress so I will do an AAR later.

A spot of Royalist Cavalry
Historical Background

Fought on the 20th September 1643, a year which to date had gone well for the Royalist cause. Banbury, Oxford, Reading and Bristol were in the hands of the King and the Rebel Parliamentarians were without an army in the field. They were forced into action when Gloucester came under attack, Essex raised an army which lifted the siege.

Parliament Forces ready for the fight
Essex retreated towards London but the Kings Forces managed to overtake him and place themselves before Newbury and across the road south for the capital. The sneaky Parliamentarians made an un gentlemanly dawn attack seizing the high ground before the Royalists had chance to allow their moustache wax to set. It's at this point that our refight begins.


Game Map


Above is our game Map played on our standard 12 x 6 table, not a massive amount of room to manoeuvre but the real battlefield had streams on either side of it. The large enclosed area at the top was known as Skinners Green a series of hedged areas, we had a brief discussion before the start of the game and decided that we would treat the whole area as soft cover rather than deal with each hedge individually.

Byrons Foot and Horse wait for Battle to commence
The hill at the bottom of the map represents Wash Common, the ground was level across the battlefield and dropped away behind the Parliamentary lines, I simply didn't have a big enough hill to cover that area, so used what I had. So for game purposes no troops on the "hill" count as being uphill of others unless they are on the raised ground looking to those on the left of the map.

Apologies for some of the Brigade Commander names being clipped on the map, pretty sure from the orbats you will be able to work out who went where, it's something I haven't figured out how to do with my mapping program yet.

Order of Battle


God Save the King
Before I present our orbats for the game orbat I thought it was best to explain my line of thinking to cut off the pendants at the pass.

Firstly to my knowledge there is no definitive historical orbat of the battle, we seem to know more or less which units where present but not necessarily how they were organised or what their exact strength was.

The Parliamentary lines prior to Battle
I am limited by the 150 Royalist Cavalry I have  (we had some spare Parliamentarian Cavalry but I was letting those rebellious rascals in my Army, can you tell which side I'm on yet ?). So that meant a ratio of about 1 : 45ish and therefore about 125 Roundhead Cavalry. Made think about getting some more which made me look at some of the new Empress Cavalry on the Internet,  oh nice, this is how lives are ruined !

That meant smallish Infantry Armies so (purists call for an Ambulance now) I used a different ratio of about 1:33 for the Foote, giving me about 240 Royalist and 270 Parliamentarians, around 800 figures all in.

Kings Lifeguard of Foote
So with the numbers of figures determined and having no direct orbat to work from I decided to split the numbers evenly between the "Brigades". Splitting this again by the number of units present would have given us some pretty small units, it would have been an average of 14 Figs a unit for the Parliamentary Foote for example. This caused a problem as the minimum unit size for Foote with our rules is 16 so I decided to build up the Brigades based on the units I had available. This meant some units present are not physically represented their men amalgamated into the other units. So if your favourite unit is missing, I'm sorry.

Rebel Artillery
Which leads me nicely onto rules and unit classifications. The thing that put me off ECW initially was most of the rule sets split units up into wings of muskets and blocks of pike and you seemed to be endlessly counting numbers of figures and trying to keep track of losses to 3 separate parts of the same unit. Then I discovered Forlorn Hope from Partisan Press, it had a single number of models in a unit which was defined by its musket : pike ratio. All figs fought or shot the effect depending on the ratio, boom, brilliant, let's buy figures.


The rules we use today differ greatly from that set, we have drastically changed a lot of the combat system to speed things up but that one ratio idea is still the bedrock. However the rules do have a great system for randomly determining troops types based on the year of the action and the area of the country the Battle took place in. You roll 3 d10 per unit to determine the strength, Morale and ratio for Foote or Tactics for Horse, as we had already determined strengths we rolled two die per unit, the results are show below.

If you fancy rolling them up yourselves if you have a crack at the game here are the relevant tables (all d10 rolls). We added +2 for some of the "famous " units like the Kings Lifeguard and Ruperts Horse which of course was the kiss of death as most of them went onto then roll a 1.


Royalist Foot - Ratio 3:2 on a roll of 1 else 2:1. Morale 1-2 Raw, 3-8 Trained, 9-10 Veteran.
Royalist Horse - Tactics - All Gallopers, Morale 1-2 Raw, 3-4 Raw/Elite, 5-6 Trained, 7 Trained /Elite, 8-9 Veteran, 10 Veteran/Elite.
Royalist Artillery - 1-3 Raw, 4-10 Trained

Parliament Foot - Ratio 3:2 on a roll of 1 else 2:1. Morale 1-2 Raw, 3-8 Trained, 9-10 Veteran.
Parliament Horse - Tactics 1-3 Trotter (F), 4-9 Trotter, 10 Gallopers. Morale 1-2 Raw, 3-8 Trained and 9-10 Veteran,
Parliament Artillery - Raw 1-5, Trained 6-10.

I strongly recommend getting a copy of Forlorn Hope even if it's just for these tables.



Royalist Order of Battle


King Charles I
C in C
LV1



Sir Jacob Astley
Gen of Foot
LV2



Brig Vavasour
Brig Foot
LV1
Vavasours Foot
Trained 2:1
20 Figs
Herberts Foot
Raw 2:1
20 Figs



Brig Belasyse
Brig Foot
LV1
Belasyse Foot
Trained 2:1
24 Figs
Earl Rivers Foot
Vet 2:1
20 Figs
Astleys Foot
Trained 2:1
16 Figs



Brig Gerrard
Brig Foot
LV1
Gerrards Foot
Raw 2:1
24 Figs
Ruperts Foot
Vet 3:2
28 Figs



Byrons Foot
Brig Foot
LV1
Kings Lifeguard
Trained 2:1
30 Figs
Prince of Wales Regt
Raw 2:1
16 Figs



Col Lisle
Brig Foot
LV1
Herberts Foot
Vet 2:1
20 Figs
Molyneuxs Foot
Trained 2:1
20 Figs
Owens Foot
Trained 2:1
16 Figs



Prince Rupert
Gen of Horse
LV3



Brig Byron
Brig Cav
LV1
Astons Horse
Raw Gal
9 Figs
Byrons Horse
Raw /E Gal
9 Figs
Digbys Horse
Vet/E Gal
9 Figs
Northamptons Horse
Vet Gal
9 Figs



Col Wilmot
Brig Cav
LV1
Kings Lifeguard
Vet/E Gal
12 Figs
Queens Horse
Vet/E Gal
9 Figs
Wilmots Horse
Vet Gal
9 Figs
Chandos' Horse
Raw Gal
6 Figs



Prince Maurice
Brig Horse
LV1
Prince Ruperts Horse
Trained Gal
12 Figs
Prince Maurice Horse
Vet Gal
9 Figs
Lucas' Horse
Train/E Gal
9 Figs
Andovers Horse
Train/E Gal
6 Figs



Lord Carnarvon
Brig Horse
LV1
Carnarvons Horse
Train/E Gal
12 Figs
Sandys Horse
Vet Gal
9 Figs
Eures Horse
Vet/E Gal
9 Figs
Morgans Horse
Raw E/Gal
12 Figs



 Artillery


1st Heavy Gun
Trained
5 Figs
2nd Heavy Gun
Raw
5 Figs
Ind Medium Gun
Trained
4 Figs
1st Light Gun
Trained
3 Figs
2nd Light Gun
Trained
3 Figs
3rd Light Gun
Raw
3 Figs

Prince Rupert and Dog
Parliament Order of Battle



Earl of Essex
C in C
LV 2



Sgt Major Gen Skippon
Gen of Foot
LV2



Col Fortescue
Brig Foot
LV1
Martins Regt
Trained 3:2
16 Figs
Springates Foot
Trained 2:1
16 Figs



Col Bulstrode
Brig Foot
LV1
Skippons Foot
Raw 2:1
20 Figs
Brookes Foot
Trained 2:1
16 Figs



Col Harvey
Brig Foot
LV1
London Trained Band Red
Vet 2:1
24 Figs
London Trained Band Blue
Trained 2:1
24 Figs
City of London Green Aux
Trained 2:1
16 Figs
City of London Yellow Aux
Vet 2:1
16 Figs



Col Robartes
Brig Foot
LV1
Robartes Foot
Trained 2:1
16 Figs
Constables Foot
Veteran 2:1
20 Figs



Col Barclay
Brig Foot
LV1
Earl of Essex Foot
Vet 2:1
20 Figs
Langhams Foot
Vet 2:1
20 Figs



Col Holbourne
Brig Foot
LV1
Holbornes Foot
Trained 2:1
20 Figs
Thompsons Foot
Trained 2:1
20 Figs



Sir William Balfour
Gen of Horse
LV2



Col Middleton
Brig Cav
LV1
Middletons Horse
Trained Trot
9 Figs
Lord Greys Horse
Trained Trot
12 Figs



Col Meldrum
Brig Cav
LV1
Sheffield Horse
Trained Trot
9 Figs
Meldrums Horse
Trained Trot
12 Figs



Col Denbigh
Brig Cav
LV1
Denbighs Horse
Trained Trot
9 Figs
Behres Horse
Trained Gal
12 Figs



Col Stapleton
Brig Horse
LV1
Earl of Essex Lifeguard
Trained Trot
12 Figs
Earl of Essex Horse
Vet Trot
9 Figs



Col Ramsay
Brig Horse
LV1
Dalbiers Horse
Vet Trot
9 Figs
Ramsays Horse
Trained Trot
9 Figs



Col Goodwin
Brig Horse
LV1
Goodwins Horse
Vet Gal
9 Figs
Harveys Horse
Vet Trot (F)
9 Figs
Nortons Horse
Vet Trot (F)
6 Figs



 Artillery


Ind Heavy Gun
Trained
5 Figs
Ind Medium Gun
Raw
4 Figs
1st Light Gun
Raw
3 Figs
2nd Light Gun
Raw
3 Figs


That's the set up for you, in the next post I will cover the action itself.

The whole set up, apologies for the strange angle of the photo it was the only way I could fit the whole thing in.










Friday, 3 June 2016

"Onward to the Rhine" A WW2 Scenario Sept 44

A Rearguard Action Somewhere North of the Seine

A Company of Panther Tanks advance cautiously through a French village.
It's that time of year again for a crack at our continuing sequence of games following the action across Western Europe from D-Day to the end of the war. Last time we recreated the closing of the Falaise gap and not surprisingly, although it was a close run thing, the Allies came away victorious.

Historical Background 

Although the Normandy breakout is complete many units of the German Army are making their way East and when the terrain allows or a good Commander sees an opportunity an ad hoc defensive line forms and where possible precious reinforcements are thrown into the front line. Kampfgruppes and composite units must try to hold off an Armoured Division with Infantry support.

Allied Armour advances across fields.
Game Map & Set up 

The game is played on a 12 ft x 6ft table, using 6 mm miniatures. We use a home brew set of rules based on the old Korps Kommander rule set. Each model represents approx 4 vehicles or pieces of equipment and each base of Infantry is around 50 men.


The Allied forces enter on the bottom edge of the table, German Forces Set Up anywhere on the top two thirds of the table. Germans should begin hidden, we use counters for each unit with a blank counter for every two real counters.

The Thick Crust method
The objectives are straight forward, the Allies need to break through the German lines and race for the table edge, the Germans need to stop them. The game should last long enough for the Allies to have a realistic chance of reaching the edge of the table so that depends on your rules, I would go for 2 x the number of turns it takes a Standard tank to reach one end of the length of the table to the other.

The Allies Orbat

Moving on table from move 1.

29th South Alberta Recon Regt (Morale 6)

BHQ - 1 x Cromwell Str 4                              Recce Co - 3 x Stuart V Str 3

3 x Coys of 3 x Cromwell Str 4                      1 Coy of 3 x Challenger TD Str 3

14th Canadian Hussars (Morale 6)

BHQ - HQ in Humber SC Str 4                       Recce Co - Recce Inf in Bren Carrier Str 6

A/T Co - 3 x 6pdr (Carrier tow) Str 3              Mortar Co - 3" Mortar (Carrier) Str 6

4 A/C Recce Coys - 3 x Humber A/C Str 4     1 Inf Coy of 3 x Infantry in M3 1/2 track Str 6

2 x Inf Coys of 3 x Infantry in Carrier Str 4

25pdrs in action.
2 x Infantry Battalions each with (Morale 6)

BHQ - HQ in Lorry Str 4                                  A/T Co 6pdr with Carrier tow Str 4

Recce Coy - Recce Inf in Carrier Str 6             Mortar Coy - 3" Mortar in Carrier Str 6

Engineer Coy - Engineer in Truck Str 4           4 Inf Coys each with 2 x Inf Str 6

2 Battalions of Royal Army Transport Corps each with

8 x Lorry Str 6

Attached 3 x 25pdr Str 8

Note The Infantry Battalions are from an Infantry Division and therefore would not have their own transport but use the RATC units, for the whole of the game their are only two battalions worth of transport. Any units which arrive as reinforcements must share the transport.

Taxi anyone.
Reinforcements

Once the Allies have moved all their initial forces on table they will be eligible for fresh troops. The first unit will be an armoured btn from then on draw randomly from an Armoured or an Infantry Battalion. There is an Armoured Division and an Infantry Division allocated for the attack so there are 4 Tank Battalions (1 additional Guards Btn with Churchill's, Morale 8) and 7 Infantry Battalions available. If you have full Divisions (as we have) you may consider adding further units (Artillery / Armoured Inf / Tank Destroyer etc) into the reinforcement pool. After the first unit arrives a fresh unit will arrive every 3 turns.

Firefly's go.
Tank Battalion Orbat (Inf as above)

BHQ - Sherman V x 4                                         1 Recce Coy of 3 x Stuart V Str 3

1 x Recce Coy of 3 x Humber SC Str 3               AA Coy of 2 x Crusader AA Str 3

3 Coys each of 4 x Sherman V Str 4                    1 Coy of  3 x Firefly Str 4


Note For ease of game play with our rules the Firefly's have been placed in their own separate Coy. For the Guards Btn just substitute all the tanks for Churchill's. All reinforcements arrive at the bottom of the map.

Airpower

Each turn roll 1 d20 on a roll of 15-20 the Allies will receive air support, roll 1 d6. A 1 or 2 and receive a CAP patrol of 6 x Spitfires on 3-6 12 x Typhoons armed with rockets.

A rare site (in our game) Typhoons in flight.
The German Orbat

On table from turn 1 they should be allowed free deployment with no command radius restrictions.

Panzer Kampfgruppe (Morale 8)

BHQ - 2 x Panther Str 4                                           1 x Recce Coy - Panther Str 5


AA Coy Wirblewind Str 3                                        Engineer Coy - Eng in Sdkfz 250 Str 5

2 x Coys of 3 Panthers Str 4                                     2 x Coys of PzIVH Str 4



Independent Stug Battalion (Morale 7)

BHQ 2 x Stug IIIG Str 5                                            AA Coy Sdkfz 7/2 Str 3

Recce Coy - Recce Inf on M/C Str 3                         Engineer Coy - Engineer in Truck Str 3

3 Coys of 2 x Stug IIIG Str 4                                     1 Coy of 2 x Stug IIIG(105H) Str 4

2 x Infantry Battalions each with (Morale 5)

BHQ - HQ in Staff Car Str 3                                      Recce Coy - Recce Inf on bicycle Str 3

Mortar Coy - 120mm Mortar in truck Str 4               Inf Gun Coy - 75mm IG Str 6

3 Infantry Coys with 2 x Inf Str 7

German Recce has a cheeky look
Panzer Grenadier Kampfgruppe (Morale 8)

BHQ - HQ in Sdkfz 251 Str 4                                     Mortar Co - Sdkfz 251/2 Str 6

AA Coy - Sdkfz 7/2 Str 3                                            A/T Coy - Pak 40 (Ost tow) Str 6

MG Coy - MMG in Truck Str 9                                  2 Coys of 2 x Pz Gren in Sdkfz 251 Str 6

2 Coys of 2 x PzGren in truck Str6.

German Reinforcements (Morale 8)

The Germans will receive a reinforcement from their pool the turn after the Allies receive a fresh unit. All German troops will arrive on one of the two roads at the top of the map. While the Allies receive units in Battalions the Germans are down to companies. Our pool which we drew from random was,


1 Coy 3 x Tiger II Str 3, 2 Coys Tiger I Str 3, 2 Coys of Hetzer Str 4, 1 Art Btn of 3 x 105mm Art Str 6, 3 Coys of 2 x Inf Str 6 in Trucks.

Tigers are here
German Airpower

Roll 1 d20 in the air phase and Germans receive an air unit on a roll of 19 or 20. 1 to 3 it will be a CAP unit 4 to 6 ground attack.

To everyone's surprise it's The Luftwaffe  !

How did we get on.

The Germans had a couple of options in their game plan, the cheap Aldi Pie defence (thick crust with no filling) or the Morrison's Pie (thin crust with a meaty filling). For none UK readers Aldi are a cheap supermarket, Morrison's a bit more upmarket and from Yarkshire. The Aldi option was chosen and the front line consisted of most of the good stuff with very little behind it.

The basic German Infantry have no transport so they were placed in the rear two villages or Festungs as we called them. Fortunately for the Germans the Allies moved on across the fields and where easily picked off by the German armour which had lined the hill over looking the fields, two armoured battalions were sacrificed trying to get across the fields but with hull down Panthers vs advancing Shermans there was only going to be one winner.

More thick crust
The Royal Air Force where the big let down of the day, statistically they should have been over the table every 4 turns however they only turned up once in the game. The Luftwaffe put them to shame turning up twice, once for a ground attack and once on a CAP mission.

The Hussars pushed forward on their right towards the foremost village, this side of the table was held by the STUG battalion and the Allies made steady progress reaching the edge of the village away from the prying eyes of the Panthers. Once the Allies got their 25pdr Batteries in action they started to whittle down the German defences but the heavy losses early in the game had dented the confidence of the Allied Commanders and they called off their attack.

This was much to the relief of the German players who must have had excellent poker faces. The thick crust had held but only just, there wasn't much left and the front line was just about to fold in the centre and there was nothing much to stop a race for the far table edge, just a couple of static Infantry Battalions who could easily be driven around.

More Shermans about to be Panthered
The Germans did get a Company of Tiger I on the table but they only just made it to the front line when the Allies capitulated.

With Project Jutland on the go it seems to be all Naval at YG for the moment however we have had a nice break with this game and next on the table with be our 28mm ECW collection for a crack at the First Battle of Newbury.

The Allied advance towards a Festung