Monday, February 24, 2020

IRON CROSS: Outside Carentan

Dave was over on Sunday and we played a 15mm game of Iron Cross, which is my favorite scale to play Iron Cross in.

Germans coming from the upper right.  We only used 4 x 4 of the playing surface.
 We refought the attack by the 17th SS Panzer Grenadier Division counterattack against Douville Farm on June 13th against elements of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment and Combat Command A, 2nd Armored Division.  This was alot of fun!  We're playing with a relatively small amount of points/units (400 points, about 12 units per side) which means you run out of command tokens quick!

Situation Map.  

Road leading past the Douville Farm.  Note the craters from continuous German shelling.  The weary paratroopers are holding on but not for much longer!  
 Dave gets his reinforcements pretty quick and surges the tanks down the road towards the main highway, past the American troops in and around Douville.  They know the Germans are coming from that direction!

 I immediately use the majority of my command tokens to push the dismounted panzer grenadiers up to the hedgerows.  My support weapons have not made it, yet.  While I need the Stug's firepower, they're busy dealing with the expected American counterattack.

troopers from the 17th SS - "Götz von Berlichingen"
 Pretty cool here that both my American and SS troops are getting their baptism of fire on the table today!  This is the first time i've used both of them in a game.  Meanwhile, Shermans from 2nd Armored careen around a corner and a knife fight begins between the Shermans and the Stug.  One of my hits causes maximum damage, but Dave has Lafayette Pool in one of his tanks and they rally (rolling a 6 for a company morale check) next turn!  Dave KO's a Stug with a flank shot down the road.

So what if we used Lichen for hedgerows.  It looks cool!

Dave brought his Canadian Shermans over.  You get the idea though!  Just pretend they're American!
Iron Cross tends to zoom in on the action and the players can fixate on one particular portion of the field.  Dave has an HMG section covering the cow pasture I am looking at using the woods to the left of to advance against the farm buildings.  Some good shooting from the SS schutzen takes out the US HMG section and so far the coast is clear!  Dave has an AT gun (57mm) at the farm, however, covering the cow pasture.  It makes my life and crossing this field very difficult.
Stug taken out by the Sherman down the road.  Meanwhile a squad of troops has a morale marker and an activation token.

Germans push up through the woods, taking a covered route to the farm!
 I begin aggressively pushing infantry up through the woods to get in position to flank the farm.  Dave's infantry will be coming on and moving right towards those woods to blunt my assault!
More Germans pushing up.  You can make out the yellow-ish walls of the farm house to the right.  Dave's reinforcements start to arrive now...
We used bazooka and panzerschrecke stands to mark which squads had organic AT capability.

massive firefight develops in the southwestern woods as reinforcing infantry from 2nd Armored Division pour in.  They set up an HMG section and it wreaks havoc on my advancing squads.  

SS Schutzen claw their way through the light forest under fire
 One of the pivotal moves of the game is when Dave gets another HMG section and moves it into position to cover the west woods where my German Schutzen platoon is coming up.  it's a great position in the covered hedgerow and they earn maximum payback for the loss of the HMG section earlier!  It completely blunts my assault.  If I had my HMG section up front with me this might not have been so dramatic!

Dave's HMG section chewing up my infantry in the woods!  

GI's from CCA / 2nd AD advance past the Douville farm and the paratroopers

Germans in the woods

The 17th SS troops along the south hedgerows attempt to cross.  My HMG would REALLY have been of great use up front where the fighting is!
 By now it's pretty obvious my attack is starting to peter out.  All of my lead squads have a number of morale markers on them and even when I rally one, Dave activates that blasted HMG the next go-around and causes markers again.  With my fire support platform, the Stugs, tied down at the line of departure tangling with Shermans, I call it on turn 6 as Dave has up to 2 or 3 squads in the farmhouse!  The 17th SS attack is blunted - just as happened historically.

Stug III on the right will eventually be knocked out by the Shermans but there were ALOT of missed rounds flying around this battlefield!

It's important to note that my gepanzerte panzergrenadiers never got to get off the line of departure as the 2 x Shermans were waiting there to ambush them.  The presence of 2 x additional squads would have bolstered the attack and I could have used teh MGs in the halftracks to help keep the GI's heads down!

Worth mentioning that my mortar was pretty underwhelming here but the HE from stugs, AT guns, and fire from HMGs is outstanding.  You need to protect your crew served weapons with infantry in iron cross and use combined arms with the arms mutually supporting one another.  Additionally, your flanks are important in constricted terrain and I should have put out flanking squads to guard against Dave sending those Shermans down the lane.  All in all it was a great, fun engagement and perfect for a Sunday afternoon.  Playing on the table, however, made me think I'd love to play this battle out using Battlegroup: Overlord and see how it plays.  Honestly, on a 4 x 4 table I'll bet the forces would come to grips pretty quickly!

Let's get outta here!  The rest of the infantry and our armored escorts are toast!

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.

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.