Saturday, February 15, 2020

More February WIP: AWI "Jersey Blues" & 10mm SYW Prussian Regiment

This year I've really been trying to stick to my plans and that means painting American War for Independence troops.  The good news here is I only have a very small amount of units left to paint.  This is one of them - the famed "Jersey Blues" or 1st New Jersey Regiment.  In an effort to bolster my forces for my upcoming Germantown game, I realized that I need a few more units of British and Continentals in 15mm to make it happen!

24 x 15mm "musket miniatures" Continentals
I've always loved the uniforms of the mid-atlantic colonies and their military forces during the Revolution.  You see lots of browns and blues in the uniform coats and the New Jersey regiments had some very unique uniforms with red shirts, light blue on darker blues. etc.  Here the regiment is depicted in all its blue clad glory!  Truth be told there are many misfit troopers in here in various kinds of kit, however with the precarious American supply system I figure these men used what they could get their hands on.  Either way, it all works!

These men are clearly on campaign now and some have taken to wearing straw or field hats instead of their tricorne hat.  By the way, I love the yellow trim on the hats.


going toe to toe with British regulars!  

my newly painted prussians
Also, continuing the momentum of my 10mm projects, I completed another 10mm SYW Prussian Regiment today (30 total figures). 
This regiment is different with white facings, and cuffs, but still the red turnbacks.

comparison
Total things painted in February:
  30 x 10mm SYW figures
  24 x 15mm AWI figures
  13 x 1/285 aircraft
Total 67 painted things.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

The Battle for Seminary Ridge: July 1st, 1863

Dave was over yesterday and we played the entire Confederate assault against Seminary Ridge late on the afternoon of July 1st, 1863 at Gettysburg.  I was able to teach Norm's excellent "Two Flags - One Nation (TF-ON) rules to Dave in a turn or two and we set about playing.

Readers will remember a few weeks ago I crafted this scenario from Scott Mingus' "Enduring Valor" Gettysburg scenario book for "BattleCry."  Since the troops were already on the table, an outing with the hex-based TFON rules was called for!

Dave serving as General Pender positions his troops on move 1
In  TFON speak - all troops for this scenario are "seasoned."  The Iron Brigade are not elite to reflect their exhausted status on the afternoon of July 1st, 1863.  The Rebels must inflict 40% casualties and capture one of the 2 geographical objectives by Turn 10!  This stipulation would create an intense nail-biter of a scenario that could easily have gone either way.


General Pender with the assaulting Regiments of Scales' Brigade in the cornfield south of the Cashtown Road.
 Dave chose a slightly different plan from his predecessor, Brian, who weighted his entire assault on the Union left.  While Dave did select the Union left as key terrain, Scales' Brigade was certainly not idle during the engagement.

I learned my lesson from 2 previous walk throughs of this scenario, and reinforced Biddle's Philadelphians as well as shifted the Iron Brigade down to try and cover the gaps.

Note 2 Regiment-Deep defense on the left with Biddle's troops.
Dave had a bit of trouble coordinating the advance of Perrin's Brigade on his right and the command rules ensured the advancing troops had to wait for their comrades to catch up.  This exposed them to fire from the Union units on the hill.

Dave's advance in line abreast against the Union positions!  Note the single, lonely regiment of Confederates lower left, awaiting the advance of their comrades

Holes start to open up in the Union line as troops from Biddle's Brigade retreat under pressure from the intense firefight breaking out along the line.
 After 3 or 4 turns, Dave gets the hang of it and is "dangerous" now!  He starts assaulting Seminary Ridge and goes in with the Cold Steel.  Wadsworth's troops are pushed back in the center and Dave claws his way onto the ridgeline in the center!

Scales' North Carolinians break through in the center!
 The battle see-saws back and forth with the Rebels pushing forward onto the ridgeline, and swift Yankee counterattacks pushing them off.  The combined 2/7th Wisconsin is suffering greatly and almost routes off the table until they are put back in the line by Meredith!


Fighting around the Lutheran Theological Seminary is particularly fierce!
Dave and I are loving the back-and-forth struggle for the ridgeline and now that close combat has been joined the game gets even more tense and exciting as casualties mount on both sides.  As expected, Rebel casualties are particularly high but the decision making becomes nerve wracking for both of us!  Do you shoot and try to inflict even more casualties?  Or do you move to consolidate your position?

Dave has multiple regiments in reserve and commits them to the assault!  For a number of turns, the Rebels grab a toe hold on the hill, only to be pushed off.  By turn 7, Dave has 3 Regiments already on Seminary Ridge who, by taking their capability test all route off of the ridgeline and back into the cornfield!

Rebels are now on the backside of Seminary Ridge!  This single South Carolina unit is on the objective, but the Rebels are close to taking 40% casualties!  The tension is mounting!

Rebels also breakthrough at the Lutheran Theological Seminary!

Attacking the 19th Indiana now, my last remaining fresh unit!

Rebels pushed back up the hill off of the objective, for now!

come on boys, they're gonna break!

Rebels pouring up the hill!

General Pender directing his men personally!

Gaping hole torn open in the Union line as Biddle's men give ground

More rebel assaults up and down the line as the yankee troopers consolidate their position on the backside of the hill.
 2 Brigades are intermingled on the backside of the hill due to retreats and the command situation becomes confused with Iron Brigade troops mixed up with different commanders.  Doubleday is needed to sort it out, but he's sorely needed on the left to back up Biddle's men who are fighting for utter survival!

On the end of turn 9, Dave has a single, unsupported Regiment physically on the objective.  If he can hold it one more turn and I can't force him off, the Rebels will clench a victory.  If I can push him back, the Union will "win" the day and would likely have retreated off Seminary Ridge in good order, having bloodied Pender's Division and blunted the all-out assault.  What will happen next?


Biddle's men fighting with the South Carolinans on the objective.  Another unsupported assault will have to go in!   "you men are on your own - take that ground now!"

Pennsylvanians steeling themselves to assault!

South Carolinians preparing to meet the assault!
 The assault goes in and the Union carry the position!  The South Carolinians retreat off of the objective on Turn 10!  Talk about a nail biter right down to the bottom half of the last turn!


A photo finish and we had a great time.  Norm's rules are very good at delivering a fun and plausible battle with tension, drama, and excitement.  Dave really enjoyed these and is now counted among the Norm-o-philes who have played and immensely enjoyed Norm's Napoleonic, World War II, and his American Civil War rules!  A couple questions did come up during play that I wanted to post in case Norm sees this:

1.  Do enemy units block command distance?  In the final assault, Biddle was physically with the 80th New York Regiment, however there was a Rebel Regiment of South Carolinians in between Biddle and one of his Pennsylvania Regiments.  The command distance to go around those Rebels was more than 2 hexes.  We played this as "out of command." but I thought I'd ask here since I couldn't find it in the rules (doesn't mean it's not in there - just that during the heat of battle I couldn't find it!)


2.  A unit going into charge takes fire from the defending unit who successfully passed their capability test and issue a volley of 4D6 at the charging unit.  The charging unit takes casualties - does the charging unit have to another capability test right before the close combat?  If it fails, does it have to break off the combat?  Or does it just go into close combat with -1 D6 for disorder?


3.  Can an artillery unit pivot within its hex prior to firing?  i think the answer is yes.


4.  When taking a capability test immediately after being fired upon, do you count the Heavy Casualties that you just incurred in this bout of firing?  (I have 2 HC markers, and take 2 from firing this turn and now have to take a capability test.  I am not disordered yet.  Is my capability test -1 or -2?)

All said and done, this was a GREAT game and a perfect way to spend a relaxing Saturday afternoon gaming.


Wednesday, February 5, 2020

February WIP: Fast Movers and Rotary Wing Attack Aviation

February is aircraft month here at SOUND OFFICERS CALL as we make final Pre-Combat Checks and Inspection on our gear for the big Cold War Gone Hot campaign game in the works.  Yes, yes I'm definitely super late getting off the start blocks but that doesn't mean nothing is happening!  Feast your eyes on some of this serious Cold War firepower.  The commanders will be able to allocate these monsters to support their operations.

Oh note, I still have a flight of Tornados, Harriers, SU-17 Fitters, F-4 Phantoms, and more MiGs to do!
Frogfoot Flight!  Screaming at low altitude into West Germany to support a breakthrough attack!  the outstanding SU-25 is a NATO tanker's worst nightmare!



Next up, everyone's favorite - the A-10 Thunderbolt II, or more affectionately known as the "Warthog."  Sorry Mike, I couldn't get the JAWS camo right, so this is bog standard 3 tone.

Soviet Tanker's worst nightmare!  "The Devil's Cross"
 By the way, these aircraft are missing the final glosscote and some minor details, but they're battle worthy now which is why I'm posting them.  Growing up in the 1980s and 90s, no A10 model is complete without the teeth painted in the front!  Coming soon!

Mean and nasty!  Ready to chew on Pact armor!


And speaking of iconic aircraft, how about a fishbed flight?  These guys need some red squadron markings and of course their stars, but otherwise they're battle-worthy now.  I was only able to get 3 x SU25 Frogfoots (ebay) and so I will sub one of the MiG-21s in there for Frogfoots.  On the bright side?  There is a pair of SU-17 waiting for their basecoat!


 I love painting 1/285 aircraft.  These are all from the "Luftwaffe 1946" miniatures range and come in at about 6 dollars for either a single aircraft, or a pair.



From the Air Cavalry Combat Brigade, we have a flight of AH-1 Cobras waiting to unleash a volley of TOW missiles into Ivan's columns!  They're peeking up from behind a treeline, spying on the long line of green tanks!




And last, but certainly not least, this monster of a machine - the MI-24 Hind Gunship!  The classic Cold War icon itself!  I have 4 x of them, mainly for Team Yankee games in 6mm, but you could use them for other games I suppose.  Here they are ready to unload a squad each of troops, then loiter to provide close support.


Blu-Tac.  Unsightly?  Yes.  Effective?  You bet!  and no drilling into the mini!





The whole "squadron" - as mentioned still some minor details but you wouldn't notice them.  These are ready for the fight!

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Two Flags One Nation Teaser: Seminary Ridge Assault

I have to go into work late today so what better way to spend the morning than to reset the Seminary Ridge assault from Sunday and have at a few rounds of Norm's excellent "Two Flags One Nation" ACW rules!  Jonathan F's outstanding Quick Reference Sheet for TFON was also put to the test today as I remembered he sent it to me last year.  It helped enormously with recalling important tidbits in the rules I might have otherwise missed.  Let's get to the action!


Perrin's Brigade deployed - the Artillery is masked and must redeploy

I went at this problem the same way Brian did on Sunday, favoring the Confederate right rather than assault straight into the teeth of 2 Union batteries across open ground!  The right has a large wheatfield offering some cover for the boys to assault over.  The rebels spend their first turn positioning the South Caroline regiments for an assault against the extreme Union left on Seminary Ridge.  No random events occur.


Union shooting is extremely effective and cuts down General Scales in the first volley!  Scales' Brigade goes disordered in the cornfields in front of Seminary Ridge.  The Union artillery also wreaks havoc on the lead Regiments. 


Scales is dead.
 Besides some issues with out of command Regiments, Scales' Brigade will have to appoint a new commander and this will take some sorting out.  A little bit of half-hearted shooting back at the Yankees and you'd be mistaken for thinking that the Rebels could not pull this attack off!


 It's a different story on the Rebel right, however.  Pender supports the assault against the Union left and personally coordinates the attack.  The 12th South Carolina goes in with their sister Regiment, the 13th SC supporting them.  It's a textbook assault and Biddle's 80th NY are sent reeling back, disordered and with 2 heavy casualty markers.  The cover is a blessing as the Rebels roll a ton of "6"s and overwhelm Biddle's 80th NY Regiment!  They have a toe-hold on Seminary Ridge and it's only Turn 2!

The 12th SC would be mentioned in dispatches from today's assault.

80th NY thrown back in disorder with 2 HCs.


The Union troopers of I Corps spend their next turn rallying where appropriate, shooting at the rebels but a counterattack by the 80th never materializes.  It will turn out to be a wasted opportunity.  By the way, Scales' Brigade has sorted itself out now and appointed the deputy commanding officer as the new commander who joins his beleaguered North Carolinians in the cornfield.


The overall situation.  Note the solid line of Confederates advancing on the right.  Scales' Brigade on the left is spread out and needs to consolidate.  This presents an interesting tactical problem with the concept of Brigades supporting Brigades during a division assault.  
 The next turn the Rebels launch another of the South Carolina Regiments against Seminary Ridge and again the attack, this time against the 142nd Pennsylvania, is also successful in pushing the Yankees back.  The Rebels storm the ridgeline, taking up their former adversaries positions!

Note the disorder marker!  Another seemingly bloodless advance by elements of Perrin's Brigade.
 This brought up an interesting rules question.  If a commander is killed, but the Division commander is still alive and also sharing a hex with the unit, does the brigade still go disordered?  I played this out as a "yes" as Biddle is cut down after the untimely retreat of the 142nd Pennsylvania.  Doubleday and his staff personally rallied the men on the backside of Seminary Ridge!

Of note, we are on turn 4 and 2 x General Officers have already been killed.

More Rebels on the ridge now
 And so that's how we left the field.  The bottom of Turn 5 with the Union being pushed off.  They will need to swiftly counterattack next turn before the Rebels can establish their supporting Regiments on Seminary Ridge.  If I remember correctly, this was a similar problem faced at Oak Ridge during last year's TFON fight - where the Rebels were able to make swift and violent assaults, but were forced back due to an inability to consolidate their gains.  With that fresh in their mind, the Confederate junior officers are feeding as many men forward as time and distance will allow! 

Meanwhile the Union troopers must counterattack quickly as their backs are to the wall with an attacking Rebel Brigade right in front of them.  If the Union can counterattack quickly and push the South Carolinians off the ridge, they'll be able to position reserves behind them for supports.  Right now, I Corps is spread thinly and cannot support its defending Regiments on the left.


Rebels pouring onto the Ridgeline!
This has been a great game so far.  I am eager to press a local Union counter attack to see how it goes.  After a turn of ineffective shooting against the Rebels on the ridge, the men will have to go in with the bayonet if the position is to be saved. 

Jonathan's QRS was a Godsend for this game!  As I spent much less time flipping through the rules and much more time playing.  I am a little rusty on the disorder principles, replacement of Brigade commanders, and I feel, just like last time, that I need to play a bunch more rounds before I can properly use the Division command stand.  He can do alot of things, but I feel as if I need to be more comfortable and "dangerous" with the rules before I can exploit all of the things he can do for units.

Anyways, hope you enjoyed this "teaser" which I hope to finish this week.  Alright I am off to work!