Monday, 30 April 2018

Marlburian Action with Field of Battle

Yet more Field of Battle gaming.  This time, so swiftly set up, that we used the old nametags from our previous Aughrim battle for the most part (so be prepared to see some notaries who either weren't alive in the 1700s or at the very least, weren't in Flanders).

The Allies had a slightly bigger force, and the burden of attack as it turned out. I used 4 bases for Allies with extra firepower over melee cards - to simulate 'firing by platoons', and the opposite for the French who had three bases, to simulate the onus on the bayonet, and 'firing by ranks'; there are other options to mimic the narrower frontage of French regiments, but this worked well.

Some nice 70s minifigs figures, purchased from Hinds Figures on ebay made up the numbers in the Allied contingent.

The centre sees most of the action during the game.

Looks like the French are outnumbered, but they would stand in the centre.

French guns were particularly devastating on their left flank, securing the high ground.

The left became a cavalry melee - with the initiative moving back and forth.

Repeated attacks in the Allies are pushed back, rally and reform, though at a cost on morale - though the French too are taking considerable losses.

A massive push in the centre, with the Allied column of battalions adding considerable pressure to the French mid-left.'s quite intimidating...until you get a firepower card or two that is...

French guns and cavalry decimate the Allied horse on the left.

Two commanders would also fall on the day - one French, one Allied. The Allies would come off worst as their attack in the centre thereby faltered.

The French right would become a stalemate, each side afraid to move and thereby give the other an advantage.

The grind in the centre continued and Army Morale creaked on both sides... game end however, the Allies had been bled white with repeated assaults in the centre and succumbed to the Army morale roll.

Another great game in about 4 hours. Got to love these rules.

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Houffalize Highway - FoB WWII

More Field of Battle with the WWII version this weekend.
The scenario is taken directly from the old GDW Command Decision 'Bastogne' scenario/campaign book from 1987.

As mentioned previously, Field of Battle WWII is somewhere between tactical and operational level, so CD and 'Great Battles of WWII' scenarios work well. Units are 'companies' so stop worrying about where you're going to place that MG and mortar, and think about multiple battalions attacks and artillery en masse. As with normal FoB, it's card driven but key features include:

  • Nature of close in combat forces you to use combined arms.
  • Elite units (US Paras) are very hard to shift in cover (and can ruin your day if they hit armour without its infantry support).
  • Use artillery wisely.
  • Don't get surrounded in towns (unless your opponent doesn't exploit it sufficiently and blow hell out of you with his supports). 

A very close game, though some nuances of the rules need re-reading. Card draws had a morning, afternoon, night and following morning turn before battle was complete - all in about 4 hours of play.

This level also allows big battles - for example, we could do the First Airborne move into Arnhem in an attempt to capture the bridge, complete with bridge and German units coming onto the board on various move cards, to be modelled - that's with the equivalent of two WWII divisions on an 8'x5' table; not many rulesets allow that, without complete abstraction.

 The 101st Airborne hold a close perimeter around Bastogne on 20th December 1944. The remnants of Team Desobry are in Noville, but pressure is mounting. 2nd Panzer must clear the road junction and move west, while 78th Panzer Grenadier take Foy and move toward Bastogne to the south.

 Elements of 2nd Panzer Division moving to blocking positions at the road junction.

Panther company moving toward Noville...

...while 3rd Panzer Regt tries to move to take the town.

 Sountheast of Noville, and an ambush with what armour and guns the Americans can muster from the remnants of Team Desobry.

 Cobry is taken early, and German position threatens to cut off Noville from the Paratroopers.

German artillery pounds the woods and Noville.

Further west, German armour is held successfully by the Paras and supports.

...while at Noville, Panther vs Sherman is only going to go one way.

Para reinforcements from Longchamps to the west (on the 3rd move card)

3rd Panzer sits for too long idling around Noville, afraid to engage Anti Tank. Everywhere else, the Germans were making gains and wearing down US morale, but they stalled here.

 While other units moved to engage the elite Paras, who took to the cover of the woods.

 Germans move west, and close to Close Assault range...what they need now is a Close Assault card...
...and there we go...

The Paras in the woods prove to be very hard to shift - the Germans making the mistake of leaving their infantry support behind. US artillery begins to make a real difference (in the nick of time).

 Paras prove very hard to shift again.

 Eventually, as German morale begins to reduce significantly due to losses in the woods, 3rd Panzer starts to move.

The US are suffering, but they have dented German morale such that it will only take the next morale card for them to start rolling for withdrawl.

 1st roll is vs a D8...and they don't beat it.

A tense game - and proof again that it works with 20mm scales too, and provides a decent approximation of larger level battles. Great stuff.