Sunday, May 15, 2022


 Ken and I attended the annual "Kozcon" in Mullica Hill, New Jersey yesterday.  Kozcon is a mini convention held in honor of late-gamer Dave Kozlow, who passed away from cancer.  The con is put on by friends of Dave and was very well attended.  There was a $25 entry donation with all proceeds benefitting the American Cancer Society, which was really cool to participate in.  The crew also put on an outstanding "dice off" where participants would buy D6 at .25 cents per die and roll off for lavish (and I mean lavish!) prizes.

I will also mention that the whole affair was catered by a local Italian restaurant and there was no shortage of food.  (I think I consumed my body weight in garlic knots)  There were ADLG tournaments, a massive Flames of War historical game on a small 4x4 table (Ken and I played in this game), a massive Blood & Plunder game, an old west gunfight game, a massive Brother vrs Brother ACW skirmish game, and a neat Mass Battle game from TFL called "Strength and Honour".  

My biggest nemesis/opponent of the day?  The garlic knots...

The whole convention was a single day and much fun.  The atmosphere was very jovial and friendly and the food was terrific - this was NOT something to be missed!  I tried to get pictures of all of the games but most of my pictures were of the awesome FoW game I played in.

Fistful of Lead rules

Hot Lead in Dry Gulch

Blood and Plunder

Orsha, 1944 - Keep the train station open!

The Dice off begins! - I snuck away to snap pics of the other games

This looks like a diorama - not a wargame!  Blood and Plunder action

Avast ye scurvy knaves!  Service that piece quicker!

THe dice off for lavish prizes - each D6 is .25.  Winner takes all.  They would roll the lot, remove 1s and 2s, roll again removing 1s,2s, and 3s, etc.  Wait until you see the prizes!

The prize tables

The scratch-built Orsha Train Station, Belarus, 1944!  Operation Bagration is in full swing.  It was different playing late war Soviets!

We had 2 full strength Soviet rifle companies and a storm group on the table to take the Orsha Train Station.

My Soviets surge through the rubble and down onto the tracks.  They'd be under constant German artillery and rocket fire the whole way across the tracks!

THe left Soviet company jumping off as well - IS-2s in support.

Progress as we reach the first set of tracks - there is a German covering platoon in front of the train station and a nasty surprise - 2 x Tiger tanks on the German left flank...

Water tower and coal station!

There was so much artillery on a 4 x 4 space the whole ground is littered with "ranged in" and "pin" markers

Soviet HMGs - I didn't move them until the last possible moment to provide some semblance of cover fire

Guess which one is the flame thrower stand??

Inching closer to the train station!

first assault against the covering platoon.

Goes the Soviets' way and the covering "blue" platoon is pushed back.

Second company has reached the "third rail"

Remainders of Blue Platoon consolidate

the only assault against the train station all day!  it's beaten back by fire.  there are more platoons in the train station that weren't pinned.  D'oh!

We called the game at the end of Soviet turn 5.

All in all, we had a blast and I am looking forward to next year's!

Sunday, May 8, 2022

The Battle of Elchingen: ENDGAME

 Was able to retire to the gaming bunker Friday evening to finish this solo game of Elchingen with Mr Neil Thomas' "Napoleonic Wargaming" book.  You can read the first game here.  When we last left off, both reinforcement columns were converging from opposite ends of the battlefield.  The French were hammering away at Unter-Elchingen and the Austrians were causing much trouble at the bridgehead.

Heavy urban fighting in Unter Elchingen as the French are just about ready to kick the former tenants out.

Meanwhile the French columns from the reinforcing division reach the heights and engage the defending Austrians along the road!

With the cavalry clash on the French right now going well, Ney throws in light cavalry against the battle-hardened Cuirassiers.  It ends predictably with the lights being thrown back.  Still, though, they gave the horse and foot batteries time to "get out of dodge!"  A literally perfect mission for light cavalry.  A screening force.

Meanwhile down on the plain next to the Danube, Ney personally rallies the French Regiments and organizes as defense against marauding Austrian columns.  THe cotton smoke is there to remind me they need morale checks at the end of the turn (taking 4 hits - losing a MC would instantly make them take a "Stand Loss" or 4 more hits)

The French attempting to turn the Austrian defense on the heights.  Note the 2 assault columns in the valley.  Remember them.  They're conscript infantry (foreign regiments) so I wasn't expecting much from them.

Personally, I'm thinking - "this is it.  These rules heavily favor a defender and I'm not sure Ney is going to be able to pull this off".  Still - I stuck with the plan.  Turns out, fresh reserves at a critical moment are the key to success.  Read on.

Austrian reinforcements move onto the table

Technically the pic is out of order.  THe death ride of the French Dragoons.  These Austrian heavy horse just didn't want to die!

The moment at which the lights (in blue) will charge in front of the guns to protect them from the Cuirassiers.  

Put your reading glasses on for this picture.  French seize Unter Elchingen.  The retreat rules, hard in NT's Napoleonic Wargaming, destroy them since their retreat is blocked.  Again note those 2 x conscript French assault columns to the left.  The "elite" Legere is bottom left.  They wouldn't even see combat today!

Seeing the mass of men and equipment approaching Ober Elchingen, Ney knows his time is now.  He orders all available, fresh units to converge on Ober Elchingen, including the conscripts...

Jumbled, confused mass of units around Unter Elchingen on the left with units racing towards the crossroads of Ober Elchingen in the center.  The Austrian reinforcements are weaving their way into the carnage of the fighting which will prove deadly for them with the NT retreat rules.

Austrian reinforcements moving into the area around teh Abbey and Ober Elchingen.

New has one regiment remaining in the valley!

The French conscripts surge up the hill and assault Ober Elchingen!  The Austrian units defending ram straight into their advancing reinforcements and melt away into chaos in the face of the advancing French.

Nowhere to retreat to!  Otherwise strong units literally evaporate.

Meanwhile the conscript infantry make a direct assault against Ober Elchingen!

Note the column behind them moving laterally.  Another Austrian regiment doomed due to bad staffwork!

French conscript assault against Ober Elchingen.  The heroes of the battle!

French reinforcing artillery who escaped the Austrian Hohenzollern Cuirassiers due to the Light Cavalry sacrificing itself now form a grand battery on the plain by the Danube and start taking a heavy toll on the Austrian regiments there.  Ney's rear guard is saved!


New masters of Elchingen!  Ney's honor is maintained!

So that's it.  After looking for a good rules set to portray this hard-fought action, I'm glad I settled on Neil Thomas' "Napoleonic Wargaming".  Most rules on the shelf haven't been played in awhile and unlike more complex sets, these can practically be played from memory after a few turns, and always give a sharp but clean action.

In retrospect, the Austrian reinforcements screwed everything up and the division intermingling itself into the fight probably doomed the Austrians to lose it as their "Fresh" regiments evaporated after losing a single round of melee.  Food for thought.  The Austrians did not lack for combat power or capabilities.  On the other hand, the French made the right call to assault Unter Elchingen first but probably could have left the bridgehead behind instead of wasting 2 x Regiments to guard it.  Those units were sorely needed in the Ober Elchingen assault.

Some noteworthy actions were the use of artillery to "soften up" the Unter Elchingen defenders, and the use of cavalry to screen the artillery's withdrawal.  Not having done that, I would certainly have lost a battery to marauding Austrian cavalry.  So for those of you who were rooting for Ney fear not, he maintains his title as "the Duke of Elchingen."

All in all, this was a great game and much fun to get a big Napoleonic action on the table, one of my biggest games in awhile.  I think it shows the versatility of these rules to fight historical battles, having given a perfectly plausible historical result along with a great narrative.  I'll play a bigger battle with them, and am tempted to return to the Peninsula, maybe after the next project is completed.  Here's a hint at the next project and series of games.