Saturday, December 15, 2018

Mini LOBOSITZ with EAGLES CHEAPER THAN BRAIN CELLS

Alex came over last night and we played an outstanding game of Eagles Cheaper than Brain Cells, SYW edition!  Really speaks to the resilience of these rules as we were able to subtract 50 years and the game played great.  In fact, with Alex's mods, the action felt very "stately" and deliberate just like a SYW action should feel.  Now to the battle!

The action was, of course, from the Neil Thomas One Hour Wargames scenario "Twin Objectives," which itself is based on the action at Lobositz during the Seven Years War.

Prussians arrayed for battle at the start line, technically the saddle between the Homolkaberg and the Lobosch Hill.



The Austrian battle lines.  Alex weighted his right, behind the hill pretty heavily.

Austrian Pandours in position to resist on the Lobosch hill!
 The Prussians started with excellent rolling for orders and were able to advance the army and divert infantry resources towards the Lobosch to capture it.  My plan is to advance infantry in the center, and my strong cavalry wing on the right against Alex's artillery.  I'm hoping the hill is an economy of force mission but it was not to be.  Due to the fog and the Austrian deployment for the battle, we instituted a rule where the Austrians could deploy second, based off the Prussian deployment.  This was not going to be the pushover that Old Fritz thought it would be!

Hungarians along the Lobositz road with their backs to the Elbe.


Clearing the Lobosch hill!  Note the casualties as a fierce skirmish develops between the light troops and the Pandours!


Fritz and staff check things on the hill.  
 We decided that you can move your general anywhere at will.  This represents command emphasis and focus more than the physical location of the general.  It's important, however, because your general officer bestows a free order!

The battle heating up.   

Note the Prussian infantry advance in the center.  The Cavalry remains still, awaiting the order to charge!  I'm whittling down the infantry on Alex's left my right with the guns, hoping to charge them soon.
 We decided against counter-battery fire as well.
With the Lobosch cleared, Prussian infantry set their sights on Lobositz
 The game stipulates that the attacker must capture both the hill and the town in 15 turns.  No easy feat! 

Vorwarts!  The Anhalt gloriously marches into battle.

Prussian Infantry advancing as the artillery hammers the enemy
 Alex has wisely kept his battering ram, the Austrian heavy horse cavalry, off by the Elbe to counter attack.  He waits for the right moment, right as the Prussian line is advancing into the open and exposed!  Pure joy for a wargamer (Alex in this case - horror for me!) as Alex unleashes his heavy cavalry into my exposed flank!  NOT GOOD!

Here they come!  The Austrian cavalry tear into the rear-flank of the Anhalt!  Alex set this move up rather well.  Lobositz is in the background.

Deadly mustachioed men with stomachs full of bad goulash.  They are not to be trifled with.
 The cavalry charge is extremely effective and scores with 100% effect, vaporizing the Anhalt Regiment with 5 hits.  They scatter and cease as a fighting force.  Frederick is not pleased, although it must have offered him some solace that the Austrian heavy horse was itself eliminated in the fight!  No doubt losing all semblance of order as they rode down retreating blue coats!

The men of the Anhalt have had enough and quit although they gave a good enough accounting of themselves this day.

More goulash men!  Victory is ours!  WAIT!  Brown screams, the battle is not yet finished!
 Now that Alex has blunted the Prussian maneuver, he sets his sights on the Lobosch and sends the Hungarian infantry against it.  My single remaining infantry Regiment is waiting for them but it's going to be a tough slog to hold this hill!

I have an ace up my sleeve, though.  The Itzenplitz Grenadiers, who by virtue of their not moving and consistently rolling a "1" for movement, they earn the nickname "SITZ-EN-PLATZ" for all eternity.
The Sitzenplatz get their rears in gear.  I need them to stabilize a potentially dangerous situation in the center.

The Prussian Cavalry swing into action!  The blue die means they've an order assigned to them

Holding the hill for now.

Sitzenplatz Grenadiers advance up and will pour a deadly volley into the flank of the Hungarians.

Casualties mounting.  Generals are brought in to rally but it's too little, too late.  They'd fold under the pressure of the firing.  The Prussians will go on to lose the hill!


My shock troops, my elite grenadiers who were supposed to have the honor of storming Lobositz are grinding away in a steady firefight with Austrian infantry on the plains!  The plan is breaking down!



The artillery batters Lobositz and eventually drives off the infantry in the town.  The battery on the right would go out of ammo no less than FOUR times this battle (in 10 turns).  That shows how much firing they've been doing.

The last serious Prussian effort to win the day.  Perhaps with the Grenadiers I can keep the field, take the town, and then the hill?  I still have enough artillery to do it!

Alex re-orients the Hungarians on the Lobosch Hill.

Great shooting Alex!  The Sitzenplatz Grenadiers run for it back to the saddle.  Now, with only a single remaining infantry regiment, I cannot capture both objectives!  Best I can hope for is a draw.

Ugh!  Grenadiers running away!  
Alex closes the battle with excellent shooting by his Hungarians and the Austrian artillery and I'm left with no infantry and only a battered cavalry brigade and my artillery.  My infantry have all quit!

Thoughts on EAGLES SYW:

Wow much fun last night with this game.  The system and Alex's outstanding adaptations fit very well into linear warfare.  I loved the "plodding" feature of the Austrian infantry - so perfect for the period.  Plodding infantry (think Austrians or poorly trained regulars or pre-Von Stueben Continentals in the AWI) can only turn at the end of their move.  This makes it much more difficult to maneuver a force.

Also the rules we came up with for artillery and cavalry were simple but so effective in evoking the period feel.  These are a winner, just like their Napoleonic predecessor.  I'm anxious to play again, and also take this into the American War for Independence. 

Thanks so much to Alex for a fun and relaxing evening with a game full of tension and reversals of fortune on both sides!  Also thanks for the cool goodies Alex brought over for me to peruse.

Some miniature progress coming up with a flight of Stuka's done, and more 15mm SS troopers completed. 

Alex and I also talked of upcoming projects as well.  For this coming year, I'm thinking that means World War I Late War, Ancients (Rome vrs Rome vrs Barbarians), and of course more WWII! 



Sunday, December 9, 2018

West Of The Oktiabrski State Farm

Ken was over this afternoon for a pre-scheduled World War II Eastern Front clash.  In following with the tradition of late, we used a scenario from the BATTLEGROUP: Kursk book (as the name of the post implies) but used Flames of War V4 to play it.  I kept the OOB as similar as possible to the OOB from the BGK rules.  The Soviets are attacking past a small village and must over-run positions newly occupied by elements of the 1st SS Panzer Division.

Looking down the dusty track that would house the 1st SS PanzerGrenadier Regiment's leading platoons.  They would make their stands here.
 The OOB followed pretty closely with the BGK book.  The Germans had a panzergrenadier company from "Iron Cross" so 2 x PanzerGrenadier platoons, a mortar section, a MG34 section, a single platoon of Stug IIIs (long barrel), a 105mm battery off-table, a flight of 2x 37mm Cannon armed Stuka dive bombers, and a platoon of Pak-40s in ambush.

The Soviets had a full "hero" Battalion of 2 x companies of 10 teams each with maxim HMGs, Kommissars, a mortar company in support, a battery of 122mm artillery off-table, a 45mm AT gun platoon, and a company of T-34 tanks in support.

Soviet village south of Prokhorovka

German Stuka circles overheard

digging  in along the road in cover.

The Germans watching over the village for Ivan's approach
 Ken had a small deployment area over which to move out from.  His small platoon of scouts with their "Spearhead" rule didn't help much in this scenario.  (we used the "breakthrough" scenario from the book meaning I start as defender in 2 diagonally adjacent quadrants of the table).

They didn't have to wait long.

 Ken surges his infantry forward, charging across the steppe.  They are able to get very close on the first turn!  Ken's observer is in a great spot and he starts raining 122mm artillery down on my left platoon, who would take the brunt of the fighting.

 I catch a lucky break and get my reserve roll right away.  Over the radio, the Stugs hear a familiar call "Panzers Vor!" and they move out towards the north!

The Stugs get into position and start machine gunning their way through the infantry.
  
 My right platoon needs to come back down closer to the objectives, especially since Ken's reinforcements will come down that road!
Second platoon shifting into position.
 Ken pushes his elite scouts up to the line and they charge into close combat with my PanzerGrenadiers!  Ken wins the engagement and my platoon breaks off!  Not an auspicious start!


Scouts leading the way!  Ken uses his scouts to punch through.
 The first turn is over quickly (this game, unlike the last one, is only about 85 points a side).  Artillery is raining down on both sides now and Ken's infantry is decisively engaged on my left.  The Stugs are ruining their day but they continue to push forward and into my 1st Platoon's positions!  My troops on the left fall back into the woods to their rear and will dig in again.

Here they come!  Soviet Scouts burst forward into the German positions.  Ken does a great job of keeping my units pinned so he can assault.

ALL GUNS REPEAT BOMBARDMENT!  Actually both Ken and I forgot the REPEAT rule and Ken and I rolled to re-range in each turn, even if it was on the same spot!


Before Ken overran the left platoon's positions

And after!  My Platoon pulls back!


 Ken rolls his AT guns forward to deal with my Stugs. 
 Meanwhile the Soviet scouts occupy the positions held by the 1st German platoon along the road!  To make matters worse for me, Ken makes his reserve roll on Turn 4!  The tanks rumble forward - Stal Stal Stal!


Red Steel moves out!
 Ken's tanks slice their way up past my first platoon and drive a wedge in between my forces.  I end up springing my Pak40 ambush along my rear base-edge.  It's not where I wanted to but the situation forced my hand!  Ken's infantry companies in the lead are suffering badly now from constant artillery and machine gun fire.



 Ken goes for broke to cause casualties and dislodge my infantry from the woods.  he needs to start turn 6 sitting on an objective with me further away than 4".  This is his chance!

Ivan pins the 1st platoon down in the woodline as the scouts move forward to close assault them!
 The defensive fire is brutal however and Ken's scouts are pushed back in the open!
German infantry on the right can only sit and watch.  Meanwhile, Ken's artillery targets them as well  - there are plenty of 122mm shells to go around comrade!
 My Stukas come in again and target Ken's armor, along with my Pak40 ambush they're able to KO 4 tanks at the bottom of turn 4.  Not bad shooting but is it enough?



 The mortars radio into command "We haven't fired a shot all day.  What's happening up front?"

everyone is firing around the mortar platoon.  I shift them left so they can possibly spot targets for themselves.
 Ken goes for broke and attempts to overrun the first platoon with the remnants of 3 seperate units - like a Soviet human wave attack!  First the scouts, then the 1st and 2nd companies.  The Germans aren't pinned, either.  It's rough and Ken's infantry don't come out of this one "in good spirits."  The formation breaks and the game is over and the Soviets break off the attack.  They'll be back, though.

Soviet battalion commander coordinating the assault.






This game was alot of fun and I'm starting to see the value in smaller games (100 points or less) that force you to make decisions on what units you want to have on the table.

This game was very interesting and alot of fun.  Not only did we have armored units, but this seemed like a hard infantry fight and I think both Ken and I re-learned some things as well.  Ken mentioned he should have made better use of his artillery by dropping smoke in front of his attacking infantry.  He also said he would have taken a different, more covered route to the objective.  I forgot all about my observer and should have used a dedicated observer for my guns instead of the company commander.  Also, Im not sure if the dive bomber/ground attack aircraft were worth the points.  I probably could have gotten away with more armored vehicles and used them to better effect than the Stukas (but let's face it - the aircraft are cool to have on the table!).

Great game and I'm looking forward to the next one!  (Next battle coming up is "The Defense of the Stalinskoe State Farm").