Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Black Powder Chancellorsville Follow-Up

Here's a very well done blog post written from the Union perspective from the big ACW game two weeks ago.  Robert put the game on and has much more organizational info than I did.  Check it out if you're interested in doing this type of game.

Drunken Samurai's Chancellorsville Batrep

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Soviets want more

Last night I played another game of Bolt Action against John's Soviets.  We laid out the table and chose to play the Maximum Attrition scenario because the Red hordes were itching for revenge following their heroic defeat two weeks ago.  This game was played at the newly remodeled Crusader's Retreat.  When I first walked in, I thought I had gone in the wrong place because it looks so different than it did the last time I was there - a whole 6 days ago for the ACW game.  Anyway, this time the Soviets traded in their 2 T-34s and brought out quite the literal big gun - the KV2.
 I knew immediately I had to try and take that monster out before its giant gun and 3 machine guns destroyed my army.  My air observer was able to quickly get a fix on it and called in air support.  He was rewarded for his stalwart efforts by being machine gunned to death in turn.
 Air support arrived next turn, but alas, the pilot decided to strafe the big tank with machine guns.  The rounds were incapable of penetrating the thick armor.  So, with a wasted air attack and a dead AFFO, the only real shot at taking out the KV2 laid with the venerable Sherman.
 Here's the result.
 So, at this point, the Americans don't have a great feeling about the outcome of this battle.  But, with dogged determination, they decided to press the flanks with infantry.  The Soviet left was lightly held by inexperienced troops.  They did appear to have rifles, but they seemed not to work.  Or, maybe they had no ammo.  The Americans were able to drive them out of the woods and begin rolling up the left.
 Tank riders clinging precariously to the back of the KV2 decided they stood a better chance facing the American squad pushing on their right.  It was a good move as this fight continued for most of the remainder of the game.
 Meanwhile in the center, the Americans were making a glorious comeback.  Infantry and Rangers were able to heroically assault and clear two buildings held by Soviet troops.
 The fight had definitely turned against the Russians.  The KV2 crew, now inebriated after celebrating their victory over the American Sherman, were unable to hit any targets for a while.
 In an unexpected surge of elan, the Russians launched a counterattack and retook the two buildings in the center.  The Kommissar had demanded results, and the Red troops delivered.
 In a last ditch effort to try and gain a victory point, a shot up American squad was ordered to assault the KV2 from the rear, but they had had enough and decided to "take cover".

The game ended after turn 6.  Both sides destroyed/lost 5 units, so - draw.  This game was interesting because after turn 2, it looked REALLLY bad for the US.  After turn 4 it looked REALLLY bad for the Russians.  And then a draw at turn 6.  It had a lot many moments of glory, and many moments of despair.  Lots of fun.  Afterwards while enjoying a pint, I learned that the Russian commander is a bit of a geological celebrity.  Had I known this during either of our fights, I would have been much more intimidated and probably wouldn't have been able to perform.  

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Chancellorsville - Black Powder Style

About a week ago I was invited to participate in an ACW Black Powder game.  This group of guys usually puts on 1 or 2 "big" games per year.  I was able to watch last year's game and was pretty impressed, so I was very happy to be included this time around.  Especially since I didn't have any troops to contribute - other than the VMI Cadets I recently finished.  I'm iffy on some of the organizational details because I had nothing to do with the planning.  I basically showed up, was handed a brigade, and got to playing.  I think there were 9 or 10 brigades in total for both sides with 7 players.  We estimated the number of miniatures on the table at about 500+.  The table was 8 x 16 and did a decent job of representing Chancellorsville and the ground to its west.  Command values and and brigade commanders were randomized.  I wound up with Colquitt's Georgians with a command score of 8.  In this game, Jackson has already made his famous flank march and the action begins as the Confederates charge the Federal right from the woods.  The game was scenario based - The Confederate primary objective was to get to the crossing within 12 turns.  An additional objective was to exit a unit from the eastern table edge.  The Federals started the game with only 2 or 3 brigades, mostly in line along the Orange Turnpike.  They would get reserves in turn 6.  Their job was hold up the Confederate advance long enough to prevent the Rebs reaching Chancellor in 12 turns.
Confederate positions as they exit the woods on the Federal flank.

Federal positions at the start of the game

Confederate lines.  The woods are also full of troops.

Orange Turnpike

View from Chancellor

Confederates step off

This brigade was apparently tired form their arduous march - they had some trouble getting started
Confederates have a fair amount of difficulty dislodging the bluecoats from their prepared positions

Finally the advance resumes

At this point the Federals have adjusted their facing and gotten into  a semblance of line of battle

General! Please bring up your brigade as soon as practicable!

The Rebs drive on, but very slowly due to stubborn defense

Will they make it in time?
Yankee units are swept aside one after another, but the Federal reserves are now on the field.

The Confederate left is able to achieve a breakthrough

The center and right are still bogged down - moving forward - but just.

Finally the Federal center is forced to withdraw.  But we're on turn 11 with a lot of ground to cover.

Turn 12 - 1 chance left.  The dice are kind and the Rebs are able to exploit the breakthrough on the left

Union artillery brilliantly repositions to try and blow the Rebs off the objective

But the Confederates are able to hang on and achieve a minor victory

Great, great game.  Lots of fun.  I shot a few more short vids, but they take longer to upload than I feel like waiting, so this'll have to do.  I think everyone thought the Union troops would be able to hang on from about turn 6 or 7.  The Confederate advance was hampered by stubborn resistance and a lot of failed command rolls.  The game came down to the last roll of dice.  Everyone had a good time, followed by libations afterwards.  My long-term plans for an ACW brigade have moved up a few notches in my painting queue.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Batrep - 03 April 2015 - Eastern Europe - U.S. forces defend against Soviet Aggression

I had a nice treat tonight.  I got in a very fun and friendly game with John.  This was the first time we'd met and Crusader's Retreat was home to a 1946ish Cold War skirmish.  The Americans were tasked with holding a supply depot - Hold Until Relieved were the orders.  The Soviets apparently thought the supply drop was fresh underwear, or possibly rifles, because they wanted it badly.  Turns 1 and 2 saw both forces establishing their positions. Squads of infantry faced off from behind hedges flanking a roadway with the objective in the center.  The Americans concentrated fire and were able to do considerable damage - a couple of Soviet units were pinned down and shot up pretty badly.

 A T-34 rolled onto the field to offer infantry support.  It quickly became the target of an airstrike.  While the tank wasn't destroyed, it's crew was rendered ineffective for the rest of the encounter.
 A second T-34 was brought up and countered by an American Sherman.  While the American tank was able to inflict casualties on the Soviet infantry positions, it was unable to eliminate the armor.
 U.S. infantry advanced in force onto the supply drop in the wake of the armored spearhead.

 The Sherman was destroyed by enemy fire.  The T-34 was not damaged during the exchange.
 Another airstrike was called in to deal with the Soviet armor, but most of the shots went wide and those that found their mark bounced harmlessly off the thick steel.
 The T-34 brought its tank riders towards the objective and was assaulted by American Rangers.  The Rangers were, as usual, killed to a man but left the remaining Soviet infantry outnumbered and exposed.

This was a great game, albeit a little one sided.  In an unreal series of events, my dice throws were better than anyone could hope for, much less expect.  My Science Dice were finally repaying those many, many 1s, 2s, and 3s.  The main thing is that I met a very decent fellow who I am sure I will game with again, and that we had a great time.  I think we probably spent as much time talking history and current events (and perusing the shop) as playing.