Monday, September 16, 2019

Soviet God of War and other WIP

Wow it's been a long time since I dusted off the Soviet big 122mm guns that I ordered last winter but with the impending FIRESTORM: PONYRI campaign coming up, they'll be of the utmost importance, serving as a Rifle Corps or Army level fire support asset!

 Models are Game Models resin castings.  Figures are leftover PSC 15mm Soviet infantry and heavy weapon crews.
Soviet Gunners serving their pieces.

Even more Soviet steel coming up - heavy AT guns and their crews behind the 122mm artillery.

AT gun crews.  The bases are painted and drying now.
Some MERDC Micro-Madness as my Team Yankee / NORTHAG / etc Americans take shape.  These are the second batch - there are many more M60s and M1s waiting on their paint.  Yes, NORTHAG will likely not have American stats, but a guy can dream, can't he?  These guys need their tracks painted and the black gull wings added and they'll be all set.

Speaking of which - sleek M1s waiting for their crack at Ivan and loving their new bases.

Needs flock and he's all set.
and saving the best until last, here are some Work-In-Progress shots of my American WWII infantry.  Most are battlefront with some Peter Pig and Command Decision in for good measure.  This will be 3 full platoons along with a heavy weapon platoon, and AT gun crews.  LOTS of firepower, courtesy of your Uncle Sam and "the Green Machine."

The foreground stands (in a diamond formation) are my rifle teams, counting for 7 guys with M1 Garand rifles in Battlegroup.  Or just Rifle/MG teams in FOW.  The guys in wedge formation in the background are the BAR teams, counting for 5 guys in Battlegroup. Still very much a WIP.
 The Americans need their kit and weapons painted, along with gaiters and boots, unit patches and some rank but so far the project is coming along nicely.  Once the infantry is finished I can start on the tanks. 

My completed Americans waiting for their comrades to be finished.

Shake a leg, guys!  I smell Germans!
That's all for now!  Gratifying progress so far!

Sunday, September 15, 2019

BLUCHER Game: Along the Danube, 1809

Dave and Ken were over to fight "half" a game of Blucher today, playing the 1809 introductory "Along the Danube" scenario with my 10mm miniatures.  Brian also made a short appearance as an observer.  I say "half" a game because we got through 15 out of 30 rounds, which is a pity because the action was really heating up towards the gaming day's end!  So settle in with some schnapps or brandy and let's get to it!

All set up for Blucher last night.  Terrain placed, blinds in position and the Army are fitfully sleeping within cannon-reach of each other with 1 Army on the fireplace and the other on the windowsill.
I should note this was the first appearance of Napoleonic French and Austrian reinforcements from "JustJack" on my table.  I'm a little self conscious because they're painted way nicer than mine!

Dave, the Austrian commander, placing his ArmeeKorps.  Ken, playing the French commander, will set up second.

I Corps d'Armee activates and moves out!  In Blucher, units are revealed when they activate.  Dave kept as many units unactivated as he could although he activated all of his artillery to shoot at the French

French II Corps moves out!

Ken's I Corps and Cavalry Corps become intermixed while testing the Austrian right flank.  Dave would anchor his right on a hilltop with a "prepared" brigade.

In a very surprising move, the Austrian reserve cavalry corps moves out to meet the French!  Dave's aggressive strategy is to meet the French in a series of spoiling attacks, trying to take the fight to them and not allow them to deploy.  It's a good move, but seriously costly for him.

A good portion of the French have not activated yet

French Cavalry surges over the hills to attack the Austrians!

What a mess!  The Cavalry are stacking up and can't move while the infantry move forward to fight the Austrians.

Note the heavy Cuirassier attack in lower left.  Dave quickly learns the lesson of being "prepared"

Heavy Combat!

Illegally dressed Hungarians  (with helmets) move up, revealed by French probes close to the lines.  Note the avant garde brigade behind them.

JustJack's Grenzers or Jaegers or whatever!  They look awesome.

Speaking of Jack's forces, this entire corps is Jack's splendidly painted stuff!  Which looks WAY better than mine!!!  This is an outstanding picture, by the way.  It's what Napoleonic gaming is all about!

Ken trying to launch spoiling attacks against a spoiling attack!
 Dave is battering Ken's lead elements.  It's a risky move but it's paying off as Ken has lots of problems on his side of the table to deal with.  Heavy fire though will wear down Dave's cavalry he used to launch spoiling attacks.  Dave loves using his cavalry like a battering ram and Blucher allows you to do that perfectly.

Meanwhile the Austrian I ArmeeKorps remains comfortably behind the Danube!  They would go the entire fight quiet without discharging a single musket.

Red-hot muzzles of the Austrian guns as weary gunners hump crate after crate of powder and shot!

Dave continues to push into the French lines but he's starting to take casualties.

Infantry reroll successes against cavalry if they're not prepared....ouch!

Dave continues to try and push into the French.  The French I Corps is taking a heavy beating.  III Corps on the French right is trying to contain a cavalry breakthrough, and II Corps can't come up yet!

French III and II Corps containing the Austrian Cavalry attacks.  They'd take fire from 3 separate French Brigades!

Cuirassier battering ram!

More French heavy horse.  They'd charge right at the hill against the Austrian gunners, destroying that battery.

French III Corps still dealing with the Austrian Hussars

Meanwhile more Austrian Heavies coming back!

French Cavalry Corps traffic jam!

Horse artillery leapfrogs back up to the front line and opens fire on the Hungarians

Ken had to leave and I take over for a couple turns.  I use a command order and am able to form a solid line back with the I Corps.  unfortunately the cavalry are arrayed to overrun Austrian infantry, but will take a bunch of small arms fire before doing so.

I Corps' situation

II Corps sorting themselves out.  With 15 turns left, I'm ready to use them to over-run the hill objective, then hopefully turn the ArmeeKorps that's blocking along the Danube.

Those Hussars would be the first French unit to break.

Confused fighting in every direction!

The Butcher's Bill - 5 Broken Austrian units by Turn 15, mostly consisting of the Austrian Reserve Korps, whom Dave used to spoil the French movements.  It was definitely out of character for the Austrians, but very effective.  While there were 15 turns left, It would be interesting to see how the Austrians counter the French advance from here.  Dave had 2 Artillery units retired.  

French II Corps and III Corps awaiting orders!

French Cavalry and I Corps!  Still plenty of fight left.

Wow, what a great and fun game.  A real battle!  This game was thrilling and full of reversals of fortune on both sides.  We all fumbled through the first couple turns and gradually things started to really sink in, and then the business of attacking and moving began in earnest.

Some thoughts - Blucher is an attritional game and players really need to keep reserve forces.  There is a price to pay for attacking and it will wear your troops down quickly.

I love the various types of activation possibilities and the unknown MO system.  I also like the "look" of the battlefield as the action unfolds.  It certainly conforms to my thoughts of what a Napoleonic battlefield "should" look like, if that makes any sense.  I also instantly see the possibility of running a very large battle with these rules, more so than a more conventional rules set like Age of Eagles or even Black Powder.

Also, I like that you need to think like an Army commander as 15-30 turns is a long time and alot can happen!  Like CCN, the Army needs a battlplan to try and stick to, and Blucher lets you carry out that plan.  In fact I like the flexibility that the commanders have with these rules.  The battle also creates a fantastic narrative that unfolds just like a Napoleonic battle!

This game is a winner in my book and I will definitely play Blucher again. I rank it up there with CCN as one of my favorites for more grand tactical action.  Black Powder is still my go-to for tactical battles.