Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Battle of Quinto 1937 - AAR

This is the after action report for our recent Battle of Quinto game, a part of a large scale offensive by the Republican Forces during the larger Belchite offensive in the Spanish Civil War, the original Scenario and background report can be accessed on the link below,

So here is the game report told mostly through photos taken during the game.

So if you're familiar with the background of the game from the link above you will know that the Republican Forces are "tanked" up so the Nationalists used their initial reinforcement pot on some Anti Tank capability.

Air Support is random in the game but we seemed to be inundated at the start of the game here the Republicans use their planes to attack the Falange positions on the Purburel.

The Nationalist Air Force must have been on some performance enhancing drugs to begin with as their aircraft turned up 5 turns in a row, that's a 1 in 100,000 chance.

The Carlists set up camp in the Cemetery but come under heavy fire from the Republicans.

The Nationalist Air onslaught continues but on this occasion the bombs fall short of the T26 which was attacking the Cemetery.

But it wasn't all Francos boys, the Republicans had spent their Pesetas on a Maxim and were pouring fire into the Carlist Infantry.

Opposite the Purburel International Brigaders were massing in the woods to launch and attack on the Falange.

Sensing the attack was coming a unit of regular Nationalist Infantry rushed to reinforce the Falange, who had already taken a number of casualties from air attack and long range infantry fire (Yes I know they are Legion, I haven't got any Regular Infantry figures, yet).

The centre of the battlefield was relatively quiet, the Lincoln Battalion had some decent cover and with the player covering that sector absent the other Republican Generals banked the Lincolns money and concentrated on their own attacks.

Meanwhile back at the Cemetery, Republican Assaltos are massing for an attack on the Cemetery but the Carlist General has invested in a Field Gun which is starting to find it's range.

With the Carlist unit in the Cemetery wiped out a lone Dynamitaero rushes the T26, throws his bomb, but it misses, landing on the roof of the nearby building.

But the hand of fate falls kindly for the lone Nationalist as he activates first in the next turn and lands a bomb on the tanks turret rendering it useless.

Back on the Purburel an unfortunate morale check pins the Nationalist Infantry allowing the Brigadista to charge forward and after a fierce hand to hand combat take the position.

There is chaos of a different kind in the centre of the table as a Random Event Card sets loose a Crazed Bull, look out boys he ain't happy, he is heavy !

Having taken out 4 Assaltos the bull fronts up a HMG and some dug in Republicans before an Artillery round scares him off.

Things start to sway the Republican way, here we see two Dynamitaroes charging Quinto Church, there explosive charges clearing the building and giving them a foothold in the town.

Buying Panzer Is proved to be a bit of a dud investment as one is taken out at long range by a T26 whilst guarding Quinto Station.

Sensing a change in the wind (and the end of the game) the Republicans threw everything forward.

But in one of those random twists of fate a Nationalist Artillery Shell over shot the position on the Purburel and landed on top of a truck bringing ammunition supplies to the front line leaving all the troops on that side of the table short of bullets for the coming attack. The extended supply lines for the Republican Forces as they advanced proving a real issue.

A newly arrived International Brigade Battalion pushed forward to support the remnants of the Assaltos in the Cemetery and Church, supported by a HMG.

Timely arrival of a Republican Air Raid on Quinto Train Station gave hope to the attack of the POUM and the Brigadista.

But it is a strong defensive position and the Republicans miss an opportunity when an event card stops fire for the turn, they sit still rather than take advantage of a free (from casualties) move forward.

As they surge forward the next turn they come under heavy fire, crossing open ground is never easy.

The Carlists left in Quinto take to the rooftops to pour fire on the advancing enemy.

Sadly for the Republican Generals the attack of the Lincoln Battalion in the centre is stopped just short of Las Eras.

Likewise the attack on the Train Station is stopped by shear weight of fire.

The British Battalion however managed to consolidate its position and began to dig in around the Cemetery,

We called the game at that point with a Nationalist Victory, they had held onto the majority of the town, however full credit must go to the Republican Forces as they broke through the first line of Nationalist positions and who knows if extra pressure had been put on the centre early on it might have been a different story.

A now calm bull reads the Church notices
So another enjoyable Spanish Civil War game comes to an end. Definitely one of the group's favourite periods. I will be on the look out for scenario ideas to get the figs back on the table soon. Up next gaming wise will be the next part of our early war North Africa Campaign.

Thursday, 8 August 2019

Troops on Parade - 28mm British AWI

Following a bit of a lull in the gaming here at YG I thought it was time to put together one of my Troops on Parade features which is essentially an excuse to drag out one of my lesser used collections, blow the dust off them and present them to the outside world.

Agnews Brigade
The bulk of the army was put together 5 to 6 years ago and was mostly a result of me falling in love with the Perrys 28mm range rather than a deep desire to game the period. The troops are based for British Grenadier rules which are part of the GdeB stable.

The flags are from GMB, some of them have had quite a bit of over painting, for some reason I found that the first batch of flags faded quite badly with the white turning a shade of light pink ! (which you can still see in certain angles / light). A bit annoying to say the least, the gold and silver cords where purchased from a local Harberdashery store.

That dog looks familiar !
Agnews Brigade of 4 British Battalions, 6 Skirmishers and a Commander was the first group of figures I put together, all of them are from the Metal Perrys range. Most of the units have between 16 and 24 figures which are the standard size for the rule set.

Grey's Brigade
The next group completed was Greys Brigade, again 4 British units but this time including a rather large Highlander unit with 6 Skirmishers and a Commander.

I chose to have a recognisable feature for each of the brigades to help with on table recognition, Greys troops all have red plumes whilst Agnews have white plumes. The biggest (36 figures and pain !) was the Highlanders.

Anyone who has painted a Highland unit and given the tartan a good go will have vowed not to paint another one, this is probably my forth or fifth "not doing that again" promise, so for I've gone 5 years without (but those Crimean War Highlanders look soooo nice).

Tartan Detail

Photographing these reminded me they need a coat of Matt Varnish, they are finished in my old Humbrol Satin Cote style, great tough varnish but too shiny got photos.

My favourite units in the Army are these, Grants Brigade, made from the Perry Miniatures plastic box set, there is really some great feeling of movement in these units.

The unique feature for this brigade was the dark blue grey campaign trousers but I also changed the basing to give some extra depth to the Unit. This was initially purely to protect the perfectly proportioned and therefore pretty weak, plastic muskets on the figures.

But as I put the units together I found it was easier to slightly stagger the figures both forwards / backwards and sideways to get the "movement" I spoke of above, the addition of some casualty figures from the box set added to the scene and each unit has it's own diorama feel.

Which just leaves the unbrigaded Infantry. First up is a unit of Converged Grenadiers, using the great range of figures in the Perry range I was able to put a "rolling fire" layout together, with seperate bases firing, at ready, loading etc.

If you look really closely each base has different facing colours in line with the brigades of Agnew and Greg.

Which just leaves the Skirmishers and formed unit of the Queens Rangers.

Next up are the Cavalry, pretty rare in the AWI and something I neglected for quite a while. I managed to build up 2 x 6 figure units of British Light Dragoons and a unit of Queens Rangers Horse.

And finally we have the big guns, well the Artillery at least. 4 guns and 2 Howitzers of His Majesties Artillery.

So there we have another Army out in daylight for a few hours ! They are back in the cupboard now as we are back in the Desert tonight for a spot of Op Compass.

Monday, 29 July 2019

Battle of Quinto 1937 - Scenario

It was time to get one of my favourite collections out of the box and onto the table, the Spanish Civil War is one of the most interesting and complex of modern conflicts, it is without doubt one of the more popular here at Yarkshire Gamer.

Republican Air Raid on the town
The problem I do find is obtaining good large size scenarios, with SCW being a small period in terms of numbers of players there is limited support for gaming the era. There is a scenario book from Iron Ivan and the Crossfire Scenarios on the wonderful Steve's Balagan website. But these tend to be on a smaller scale than the ones I am looking for (12 x 6 table and buckets of figures). So with little literature avaliable in English other than broad stroke histories, it take quite a bit of work to come up with a game idea and then work it through to a playable scenario.

Carlist Command guarding the Church
Historical Background 

The Battle of Quinto occurred between 24th and 26th August 1937 and was part of the larger Republican Offensive refered to today as the Battle of Belchite. It is probably recognised mostly in the English speaking world as British and American Infantry from the International Brigades were involved in the assault on the town.

I was able to locate a PDF of a study of the Battle via a request for help on TMP

Nationalist Anti Tank Gun arrives on the table

The above map (randomly found on the internet so apologies no credit) gives a really good over view of the Battlefield, in fact if you look at the town today on Google Earth you can make out the main features detailed above.

My plan was to recreate the main features of the map on a 12 x 6 table and approximate the Republican Attack using the figures at our disposal.

Table Set Up

The photo above show the table from the rear left of the Nationalist position, you can see the train line that runs through the town with the train station nearest the camera, the hill in front of the station is representative of the Purburel, the smaller hill behind it the Las Eras.

A view straight down the table, Republican forces attack left to right, the Nationalist positions are along the line of the Purburel across Las Eras and then into the town, Cemetery and Church. Areas of scrub are random, wooded areas are estimates.

The far end of the table, looking across the Cemetery into the Nationalist area and the main built up area of Qunito.

The Cemetery was one of the main features on the Battlefield, I can only assume that it is the same structure that exists today, it's a big walled area and would have made a strong defensive position. The pieces of the Cemetery were purchased from 4ground and came ready painted, some lovely detail on the grave stones, apologies they don't do Spanish inscriptions.


Event Cards and Cash
We use our own modified version of Disposable Hero's, a set of rules from Iron Ivan, they have just gone into a second edition but we are happy with our own version so will be sticking with them. I was first draw to the set as they had a scenario book and a Spanish Civil War supplement both of which are excellent in terms of both providing information about the conflict and adding addition period flavour to the basic rules.

Hispano Suiza Armoured Car
The core rules are great, very easy to grasp and give good results however we preferred our own activation system using Card based unit activation. To add more colour I added random event cards (examples above) and then finally I added a cash based reinforcement and ammunition system which uses some old Spanish Currency I bought off the internet.

Nationalist Forces

Nationalist Aircraft with top secret Pilot Invisibility Cloak 
The town of Quinto is initially lightly held with only two units of Infantry, clever use of reinforcements will be needed to defeat the Republican Attack. A simple task, hold the town.

Carlist Company 1 HQ Section of 4 figures inc Standard Bearer and 3 Platoons each with 8 figures including 1 Sgt all armed with Rifles.

Falange Company organised as above.

The Carlists set up in the Cemetery and town whilst the Falange set up on the Las Eras / Purburel line.

A Carlist Platoon holding the Cemetery
Below is a list of the troop type stats, if you don't play DH, 4 is an Average Shoot / Fight value whilst the Morale figures are higher number, better.

                   Shoot         Fight   Morale Private    NCO   Officer
Falange          4                4                   5                    6           8
Carlist            4                 5                  5                    7            9
Civil Guard   5                 4                  6                    8           10
Military         5                 4                  5                    7            9

Nationalist Reinforcements 

I developed a "cash" based reinforcement system for our games. Each player rolls a certain number of d10 (Scenario dependent) per turn, a roll of 6 - 10 gains the player 10 Pesetas to spend on new additions.

For this game the Nationalist Forces have two players, each recieves 8d10 in the first turn and then 3d10 turn 2, 4d10 turn 3, 3d10 turn 4, then 4d10 etc

The only restriction on purchasing is that if you start to buy a Company you have to buy all of it (including Command before starting to purchase a new Company, other weapons and tanks can be bought at any time including mid Company.

Nationalist Infantry at Quinto Station
Avaliable units are:

2 Companies of Carlist Infantry organised as above, platoon and command are 20 Pesetas each (80 for a company).
1 Company of Civil Guard organised as above, platoon and command are 30 Pesetas each.
3 Companies of Nationalist Infantry organised as above but with 1 LMG per Platoon at 25 Pesetas per Platoon.

Panzer I
Also avaliable are the following,

Ammunition at 10 Pesetas for 5 rounds or 5 Pesetas for 1d4 rounds
1 Dynamitaero with unlimited ammo 20 Pesetas
1 Truck 20 Pesetas
Light Mortar and crew (2inch) 35 Pesetas
HMG and crew 40 Pesetas
Heavy Mortar (81mm) and Crew 50 Pesetas
Armoured Car or Anti Tank Gun 55 Pesetas
75mm Field Gun and crew or Light Tank 60 Pesetas

Our commanders are limited to those figures avaliable in the box, some of which are generic for both sides and are bought on a first come first served basis.

All purchases have their move card added to the game deck at the point of purchase and arrive on table on the first turn of their card.

Republican Hispano Suiza Armoured Car
Republican Forces

This battle is mostly known outside Spain as both the American and British Battalions of the International Brigades (amongst others) took part in the attack and therefore is mentioned in English Language texts on the period.

The Republican objective is simple, capture the town and get a move on doing it before the Nationalist Forces build up.

Republican Forces advance under heavy fire
To begin the game the Republicans begin with 1 Company of Assaltos and 2 Companies of International Brigades each supported by a T 26 Tank, the three columns enter the table on turn 1, the first opposite the Purburel, the second opposite Las Eras and the third opposite the Cemetery.

The troop stats for the Republicans are,

                                            Shoot      Fight  Morale Private NCO Officer
International Brigades       5              4                         6          8        10
Assaltos                                  5              5                         6          8        10
Poum Militia                         3              3                         4          6         7

Republican Reinforcements 

For this game the Republicans have 3 players, each player rolls 8d10 at the start of the game and 4d10 per turn during the game, generating money to spend on reinforcements as described in the Nationalist section above.

3 Companies of International Brigades at 20 Pesetas per Platoon
3 Companies of Assaltos at 25 Pesetas per Platoon
8 Companies of POUM Militia at 15 Pesetas per Platoon

A burning T26 not a good sign for the Republican Attack 

Also avaliable are the following,

Ammunition at 10 Pesetas for 5 rounds or 5 Pesetas for 1d4 rounds
1 Dynamitaero with unlimited ammo 20 Pesetas
1 Truck 20 Pesetas
Light Mortar and crew (2inch) 35 Pesetas
HMG and crew 45 Pesetas
Heavy Mortar (81mm) and Crew 50 Pesetas
Armoured Car or Anti Tank Gun 55 Pesetas
75mm Field Gun and crew or Light Tank 60 Pesetas
T26 Tank 70 Pesetas

Again the above is limited to what is avaliable at the time in the YG collection.

So there we have the set up for the game, I will be back shortly with an AAR.