Tuesday, 23 November 2010
I say orders but our intention is not to have turns as such, as I will run things almost real time. I have deliberately left it vague as I want to see how Tom and Nick choose to interpret this free-form approach. Really I want them to think like a real commander would in the situation, and pretty much anything goes therefore.
I will also be developing personalities for the subordinates under their control and that will also colour how they react to independent command and actions.
I also plan - we'll see how real life permits this - to run an occasional newspaper - the Basingstoke Gazette - which will have snippets of news and rumours which might help - or distract Nick and Tom. The first edition is out you can download it here!
Saturday, 20 November 2010
It's always one our favourites as it combines location - handy for all of us to get to - and great traders. Plus of course it always coincides with the autumn rugby internationals!
Warfare is a great show - a good number of traders and some nice games. The boys were on VBCW frenzie and we all bought stuff for the campaign.
Personally I've never bought so many kits - I came away with a couple of cars; a couple of fuel trucks, some tanks and an armoured truck.
Plus I ordered some 20mm resistance figures from SHQ which I am looking forward to painting up.
Overall a good day - especially with England winning in the rugby too!
Friday, 19 November 2010
The objective for Tom was to destroy the bridge over the river before BUF reinforcements could destroy them. To do this, he had two infantry companies, with a HMG and a couple of light mortars. Also he had another company of infantry mounted in trucks and some improvised armoured cars - trucks with armour plate and MGs. Another company of infantry, an assault platoon and the engineers with the explosives were due to arrive later.
In defence, Nick had a couple of companies of fascist militia, a light mortar and HMG. He was waiting on the BUF Legion and an armoured car arriving later in the game.
Tom chose to delay his motorised company initially and moved his foot companies through and around the woods on the left flank. This was about as far as possible from the objective. He did so as he was worried about the casualties he'd suffer attacking the village directly, but in doing so, he fell into a carefully constructed defence Nick had formed. In this picture you can see Tom's militia in the wood caught in the crossfire from the large building at the bottom, the barn, and the hedged field at the top. The HMG was also in the barn at the top of the picture.
In the face of all this fire, there wasn't much Tom could do so he brought the motorised infantry and armed trucks along the extreme left flank to try and skirt around the defences. The extra infantry battalion was also used as a sacrificial attack to try and capture the large building and distract the defenders.
Then the vagaries of the chance cards struck. Drawing a random card, both commanders were found to be mortal enemies and all units - except support weapons - had to charge towards their enemies unless they threw a 5 or 6 on a d6...... At the same time, the BUF Legion arrived on the table in force and it was all looking grim for Tom and the Basingstoke militia!
To the left you can see Nick's troops storming forward into the face of Tom's forces - they managed to capture the wood and destroy two platoons in the process before being destroyed themselves. The other fascist platoon in the big building on the right flank which had been holding up well against the largely ineffective fire, then also charged out and destroyed another of Tom's platoons before it too was destroyed.
At this point, the Basingstoke Defence Force had lost 5 platoons and the BUF were firmly holding the village with the Legion troops now holding the bridge. Their losses were considerably lower - just 2 platoons and an HQ section - so at that point Tom decided to pull back and the Fascists celebrated another victory!
Pictured here you can see the BUF Legion troops arriving on the front line in their trucks. The Fascist militia are surging forward to get hold for their foe!
Thursday, 18 November 2010
Primarily this is so we can get to grips with the rules and get a feel for how the games play before jumping in on a full blown campaign. Nick and I played last week and despite having used the Warhammer Great War rules before on several occasions, we still got some things wrong.
Both Nick and Tom should be over tonight so I have developed a new game to follow on from last weeks battle. This time the BUF having successfully captured the critical bridge, are now having to defend against a local counterattack.
Nick's force is largely based around Fascist sympathisers with a few BUF Legion troops arriving later in the game. Tom's force will be lots of militia and the hope is that numbers will enable him to swamp Nick before the quality of the BUF Legion turn up. Nick's objective is to blow the bridge, not necessarily defeat the BUF, so we'll see if he can keep to the objective or get side tracked!
Wednesday, 17 November 2010
Here's an Officer of the Fleet for the Imperial Guard 40k armies. Nice figure and the touchup went pretty well I think.
Here's another Imperial Guard HQ figures - an Astropath - again I picked this up in a batch of Imperial Guards and I already had one in my 40k army soI painted it up and its going spare.
This figures if definitely in the category of - picked up somewhere - its somesort of Space Marine although I don't really know what type as I've never played them. I picked it up at a show somewhere and have painted it up. I think it looks pretty good really.
Last but no means least, are two squadrons of lovely 28mm Napoleonic cavalry - I believe Perry Miniatures plastic figures.
There is a squadron of 7 French Cuirassiers .
and a very nice unit of 7 French Carabiniers.
Friday, 12 November 2010
The Basingstoke defence committee were well informed of the threat and were in the process of gathering their forces to resist the BUF attack. The 1st Local Defence Company was the core of the defence supported by a company from the Territorial Army. The terrain was typical of this area of Hampshire with lots of fields and hedges, along with some woodland and the village/hamlet on the river itself. The river could be crossed by infantry at half speed and as well as a bridge, there was a ford over the river.
The local defence force deployed one platoon of local militia to their left flank in a small barn in a series of plowed fields. The remaining platoon deployed in a building close to the bridge with one of the TA platoons deployed in the other building to the right of the bridge. A TA HMG was deloyed slightly back in the village with a reasonable view of the bridge and able to redeploy to the left side of the building to cover the left flank fields (in hindsight a poor location, but located to try and cover the weak left flank as well as the bridge). The remaining TA platoon, and the HQ for the TA and militia were deployed in other buildings in the village as a second line. The Battalion HQ deployed further back still where the Colonel's morale could help bolster the morale of the defenders. The few defence forces were therefore deployed mainly in the village and centralised, with just one platoon holding the left flank and the small force of landlord and his retainers, holding his manor house on the right flank. The defence was designed to hold the core village and hope that reinforcements would arrive soon enough to support the flanks if the BUF attacked heavily that way.
The BUF Legion arrived pushing aggressively in two columns down the two roads into the area. The right column was led by an armoured car (see the picture above - note the infantry are not deployed as they are in the lorries!). The defenders looked on in horror as the armoured car spend down the road, crossing the ford over the River Loddon without incident and at speed. Meanwhile several of the trucks in the centre, also swung towards the right flank apparently indicating that the Fascists were planning to rush the lone militia platoon on that flank and get across the river at speed.
However, the fascist luck changed, with Colonel Brown losing the initiative and in effect giving the defenders a double move. Turn 2 and the New Massagainians arrived on trucks and immediately deployed its AT gun on the left flank.
The 'double' turn allowed the gunners to unlimber and fire before the AC could react and bang there went the fascist car in a ball of smoke. One platoon of New Massagainians debused from their truck and deployed on the left flank to support the lone militia platoon (see the picture left), the remaining platoon (see below) and the HQ headed over to the centre of the table and into the village to support the defenders there.
So by turn three the fascists had lost their lone armoured car - meaning they could only achieve a minor victory at best according to the scenario victory conditions. Also a platoon of the legion had been hit by accurate rifle fire from the river defenders and lost half their numbers forcing them to fall back.
The fascist response was devastating with fire from several platoons over the river destroying the militia platoon covering the river from the other building and the BUF HMG and light mortar deploying to support a crossing.
Over the next couple of turns the BUF platoons started to move across the river using their trucks and the now empty building on the river as cover from much of the defensive fire. The mortar, using the battalion HQ as an observer, was making it increasingly dangerous for the defenders to leave their defensive positions and attempt to deploy elsewhere.
finished off the remaining TA and the buildings to the right of the bridge had all fallen.
Monday, 8 November 2010
Briefing for Colonel Brown of the British Union of Fascists Legion – Reading Corps
The leader Mosley has been in power in England for several months now, and you and your men have been kept busy confirming his rule in the Thames Valley against socialists and church interest groups who refuse to acknowledge King Edward. Resting up in the Government stronghold of Reading, word has reached you of worrying developments in Basingstoke.
Basingstoke was always earmarked as a target for your men to move to as it houses the vital Thornycroft lorry factory – a site the Government is keen to get hold of. After a period of quiet from the town when the local council and local dignitaries have seemed to have tried to steer a course of some independence, the past few weeks have seen them side very much against the legitimate Government.
It seems that the local BUF committee decided to try and take control of the vital factory without outside backing, and as the struggle escalated into open fighting with the workforce, and a number of Fascist members were killed and the rest fled for their lives to Reading.
Since then it has been inevitable that the BUF Legion will move south to quieten this rebellion and take control of the Thornycroft factory and the town itself. As a precursor for this attempt, your forces as a small advanced guard has been ordered to capture a crossing over the River Broadwater, south of Stratfield Saye.
You know that your departure has probably not gone without being noticed but you are confident that your men – all trained veterans of the Great War – can push aside whatever rag tag defenders the local population can gather together.
Losses are not important although you cannot afford to lose the armoured car you have been entrusted with as there simply is not enough armour in the Thames Valley.
Major Victory: Hold the bridge over the River Broadwater by the end of turn 10 and don’t lose the armoured car
Minor Victory: Hold the bridge over the River Broadwater by the end of turn 10 but lose the armoured car
Anything else is a defeat.
Colonel Brown with SMG and 4 men with rifles and grenades. All Stubborn and one with the legion flag.
2 companies of Legion troops, each with a HQ of a Captain with 4 soldiers with rifles and grenades and three platoons of 8 men with rifles and grenades. Each of the 1st platoons have a LMG. All the Legion companies are treated as fanatical.
Support is provided by a scout platoon of 10 men with rifles and pistols who have scout and infiltration ability. Also a HMG and 3 crew and a light mortar with 3 crew. In addition there is a Lanchester Armoured car with twin turreted MGs.
Everything is carried in a truck or car.
For those of you who don't know the Very British Civil War - it is a fictitious war set in the interwar years in Britain where Edward does not abdicate to marry Mrs Simpson, but instead turns to the British Union of Fascists to support him. The country is turned upside down by this and in a scenario similar to the Spanish Civil War, war breaks out across the country with various factions and groups attempting their own agenda. The VBCW books do not give you a set of rules - you simply play with whatever set you like which are appropriate. Likewise, apart from the broad storyline to the war, it is up to you to determine what actually happens, and much of the 'history' of what is happening is being mapped out by clubs and wargamers around the country playing it out on the tabletop. Most of them are covering the areas they know and live in, researching the local areas in 1938, and putting colour into the books.
My aim is that we should start a campaign based on this period and covering the attempt by Mosley's men to capture Basingstoke. So as a pre-cursor to that campaign I decided to kick it off with a quick pre-campaign battle using my new terrain boards and to see how the rules work. My aim is that in someway the start of the campaign will be coloured by the outcome of this battle.....
So here's the briefing for Tom playing the Basingstoke Defence Force:
After a period of phony war, the relative peace of Basingstoke has been broken by rioting in the town between local elements of the British Union of Fascists and workers from the Thornycroft Factory. Rioting quickly escalated from fists; to clubs and sticks; to guns and in the last exchange a number of local children were caught up in the gunfire and killed and injured. The local people rose up and placed the blame for the atrocities at the door of the Fascists. Things quickly escalated with a number of BUF members killed and the rest fleeing the town north towards Reading.
Recently word has reached you that these local BUF sympathizers have persuaded the local BUF Legion commander to try to retake the town for the Government. As a precursor for this attempt, a small advanced guard of fascist troops has been reported leaving Reading heading south apparently to try and capture a crossing over the River Broadwater, south of Stratfield Saye. The local defence committee of Basingstoke has ordered that you stop this thrust and hold the bridge.
While you know that it is important to give the Fascists a bloody nose, you also know that it is important that you do not lose too many men from your command. In these early days of the war, unacceptably high losses are not something which will sit well with the local people and could be disastrous for the coming conflict and how likely it is that Basingstoke can remain independent.
The forces at your disposal include two platoons from the local Stratfield defence unit and a small unit from the local lord of the manor Lord Grey who has agreed to place his men at your disposal. Most importantly, you have two (hopefully) very effective platoons of Territorial Army troops and even a Vickers Heavy machinegun which you can count on. Rather more uncertain in quality are a couple of platoons of New Massagainians – units raised from the brewing industry and consequently somewhat temperamental….. but they have promised to come to your aid and are currently on rout in trucks as long as they don’t stop at too many pubs along the way. Also you have two roadblocks which can be placed anywhere on the table.
Major Victory: Hold the bridge over the River Broadwater until the end of turn 10 and don’t suffer more than 25% losses
Minor Victory: Hold the bridge over the River Broadwater until the end of turn 10 but suffer 25-50% losses
Minor Victory: Inflict more than 50% loses to the Fascist forces attacking
Any other result is a defeat.
HQ - Colonel Cusack with a SMG and grenades and 4 soldiers with rifles and grenades - all stubborn. One man has the standard of the Basingstoke Defence Force.
Local Defence Company (Militia)
HQ of a Captain with 2 soldiers with pistol and rifles
2 Platoons of 8 men with rifles
Local TA Unit (treated as veterans):
HQ of a Captain and 4 men with rifles and grenades
2 platoons of 10 men with rifles and platoons
HMG and 4 crew.
Lord Grey and his household:
5 men with shotguns who gain a +2 morale if within 12 inches of their manor house.
A Company of New Massagainians (Militia)
HQ of a captain and 4 men with rifles
2 platoons of 10 men with rifles
AT gun and 4 crew
All in cars and trucks and entering from turn 2 onwards unless a 5 or 6 on a d6 is thrown in which case they are delayed a turn.
The Massagainians are a throwback to a period in Victorian Basingstoke where the local brewing interest rioted against the Salvation Army when they arrived in the town. The Riot Act was quite literally read in Basingstoke and to reflect their support for the brewing industry, I have formed this unit from those who work in and around the trade. However to reflect this, they have a special rule. On any turn when a Massagainian unit doesn't more, fire or fight, you must roll a d6 for the unit. On a roll of 6 they have cracked open the beers and are then considered Fanatical for the next three turns. If however, they throw two 6s in successive turns, they become insensible with drink and need to sober up - they are then nolonger fanatical and cannot move or fire next turn.
Friday, 5 November 2010
It was a good chance for us to see how the new rules influenced these armies and I was very keen to see how the new open order rules would help an already powerful Norse army. Ultimately it was an interesting, although not very competitive affair....
We diced for terrain and in the end pretty much all of it came down on Nick's side of the table. There were two rough patches in the flank sector of his right flank, another rought sector was just ahead of my deployment zone on my left of the central sector. Nick then had a low hill right in the centre of his side of the table and a steep hill in his left flank zone. He then took the Welsh option to deploy an additional piece of terrain to put a low hill also right in the centre of the table.
With this wall of hills and given that I knew Nick would have cavalry, forced me to deploy to my left aiming to cut through the rough as quickly as possible and get around Nick's right flank. From the picture left you can see that Nick's army was maxed out on allowable dogs of war units and on his left flank he had a unit of Breton heavy cavalry; a large unit of Viking pirates led by some slingers; then the Household welsh warband headed by the CinC and the army standard bearer; two more units of warband welsh - one headed by a priest and a warlord; the other with just a warlord. He had a unit of skirmishing bowmen, and finally holding his right flank some javelinmen complete with poisoned javelins!
Clearly Nick aimed to hold on the right and attack on the left; which was exactly what I planned to do too!
I deployed left to right: a unit of 13 Viking pirates with armour, shields, javelins and 2 side arms in skirmish. Behind them was the two heavy hitter Hirdmen blocks - one led by the Jarl and standard bearer, with 2 berserkers and 16 hirdmen; the other with one warlord, two more berserkers and 17 hirdmen. Both formidible units. Then in the edge of the rough I depoyed 12 slingers with the Bondi warblock behind - these were led by a Godi who basically made them immune to all tests, and a warlord to take on any challengers. The 28 bondi were equipped with thursting spears and shields. Next came 15 bondi bowmen deployed in open order, behind them came a small unit of 15 hirdmen without any characters or berserkers but with javelins. And finally holding the right of the line, another 12 slingers.
Nick got the jump on me first turn and swiftly moved his units left aiming to get aorund my right flanks as quickly as possible. In the shooting phase, his archers peppered the bondi archers who were regretting not being in skirmish! They just saved having to take a test for 25% casualties from shooting on the first turn!
On my first turn I rushed forward with the pirates and hirdmen on the left (see the picture right) and the slingers and Godi led bondi trudged through the rough patch. The bondi archers took advantage of the new open order two free formation changes and did an about face and moved backwards then wheeled to get a long range shot on the dreaded Breton heavy cavalry. The dice gods were kind to me and I wounded 3 Bretons despite moving and firing at long range - Nick then only saved one. That one shot pretty well meant the Bretons didn't play much part in the game as from then on Nick ensured they were hidden away behind his slingers as much as possible. There they were safe from harm, but not much of a threat. Meanwhile I decided I had to trust to the Viking toughness and armour, and pushed the small Hirdman unit straight up the table towards the Welsh archers.
Next turn the hirdmen were peppered by arrows and slings, but due to their toughness and armour lost only lost two men. In the next turn, their opened out their formation and unleashed their javelins and with the slingers aid, took out 50% of the archers. They passed their waivre test but decided it wasnt the best place to be facing a load of hairy vikings and so doubled away.
Meanwhile on my right, the bondi archers and lowly thrall slingers were doing a pretty good job of holding up Nick's attack. The Godi led bondi block was wheeling in the rough to continue the Norse line and my slingers were taking holes out of the Welsh warbands. The Jarl led hirdmen had got out of the rough and were racing up towards the welsh swinging their axes!
Then disaster struck the Vikings. The welsh poisoned javelinmen and remaining archers stood to try and damage the pirates who were fast chasing them down. There shooting was inconclusive, and the pirates charged them in a wild rush - too wild it seems. The javelinmen failed their Fury of the Norse fear test and were virtually annihilated by the pirates swinging two hand weapons apiece. But in the pursuit, the Vikings threw a 12 on two dice and overran not only the welsh skirmishers but then smashed into the right end welsh warband.... sure enough, they failed to make enough impact and were defeated in the combat. Despite their 8 leadership, their failed the morale test and then ran all of 3 inches in rout, getting cut down for their troubles! Meanwhile on my right flank, the welsh slingers finally got a good shot on the bondi archers whose morale failed and they too ran. Then right slinger unit was hit by a wave of javelins from the Vikings on Nick's side and they also ran!
But that was to be the last good news for the Welsh as the Viking Hirdmen came into combat.
In this picture you can see the critical stage of the battle take place. Nick's veteran warband right in the centre failed its warband control test and charged the viking slingers in the centre. They stood, but were obviously defeated in the combat allowing the welsh to pursue into my Jarl-led hirdmen. In the next round though, the two berserkers in that unit ripped through the poor welsh, killing an amazing 9 before combat proper happened. They then failed their morale despite having the army CinC in their rankes and that was it as they ran taking most of Nick's army with them.
We could have played on but with Nick's centre gone, along with his best unit and army standard and CinC, and my three hirdmen blocks and large bondi virtually untouched, there wasn't much point - plus it was 11.30 at night so we called that a game.
Overall, Nick did all he could to deal with the Norse but they are so powerful and having lost his skirmishers in the centre, he couldnt try and get the berserkers to charge prematurely, so, when they did charge, they ripped through his best warrior unit. Apart from the Normans, I dont see many shieldwall armies have much of a chance against the Vikings which is slightly unsatisfying to be honest - although I still like the Hiberno-Norse!
Wednesday, 3 November 2010
I must say I am looking forward to it. I know that Nick will as usual maximise the crossbowmen in whatever army he chooses - and try to shoot me down before combat, but I can't wait to try out the Shieldwall supplement under the new WAB 2.0 rules.
I've picked a long term favourite of mine - the Hiberno-Norse - one I've played with a lot and always enjoyed using as much!
2000pts gives me a small, but powerful army so we'll see how it does against whatever Nick picks - probably Norman.
The core of the army is a big 28 man Bondi unit armed with thrusting spears and led by a Hersir and a Godi. The Godi basically makes this unit immune from all morale tests while he lives and so they should have some staying power. The Hersir is there to take on any challenges Nick might make on the Godi. This block should give me something to hold ground with an allow me to operate around with the real battle winners of the Vikings - the Hirdmen.
The real strength of the army is two small blocks of 16 and 17 Hirdmen. These are really tough killers (WS4 and toughness 4) and one block is led by the Jarl army general with his standard bearer, and the other another Hersir. Both blocks also have two berserkers in them....
Supporting the killing machines I've got two small units of Bondi bowmen - they will deploy in open order which might be a risk, but means they can charge home if necessary, and ignore skirmishers who rout which is a rule I always fall foul of with my skirmishers!
Then there are two units of thrall skirmishers, armed with slings who are there to shield the Hirdmen and bondi to allow them to get to grips with the enemy without suffering too many missile loses.
Then finally are my two wild card units. I have decided on 2x12man Viking pirate units but will deploy them as skirmishers. Under the old rules I would have had one larger block of these tough killers but then they could form up from skirmish to fight in the front line. That option isn't allowed in WAB 2.0 so they are either skirmisher or Open Order from the start of the game.
I'm going to try them as skirmishers and see if they are as effective. Even though formed bodies ignore skirmishers in their rear or flank - one unit has two hand weapons, the other throwing spears (to re-rolls misses) and with a WS4 and Toughness 4, they should still carve their way through even the toughest troops. The only challenge is that they fear formed bodies so need to take a morale test to charge them, but they are leadership 8 so hopefully should go in more than not! Famous last words.
Either way, these tough killers should destroy whatever skirmishers Nick has in his army and give my hirdmen a clear run in without losing too many men to missiles. We will see.
Monday, 1 November 2010
The enforced layoff has prevented much work on the terrain boards - although I have managed to model some nice roads and fields on one board - let alone have time for painting figures. But the one good thing is that it has given me a little bit of brain time to think through a possible campaign idea which has been germinating.
The trouble with campaigns is that when there are just three of you, if one can't keep up or is too busy it quickly falls apart. Unfortunately that has been an all too common story in our campaigns. But when they work they are so much fun.
So the sucker for punishment that I am, I am going to run a quick campaign based on a Very British Civil War which is set around a throwaway comment in the southern source book which talks about Basingstoke being captured by a Government column coming out of Reading. For those of you who don't know the War - its a fictitious civil war set in 1938ish assuming that Edward didn't abdicate, and the political upheaval caused throws the country into a vicious civil war with the fascists taking power.
Tom lives in Basingstoke, and has somewhat leftish leanings and always jokes about the People's Republic of Basingstoke - so a campaign based around this Government attack on Basingstoke might hit the spot. Also if Tom is 'defending' and I play a neutral umpire role, with Nick as the 'evil' government, I think it might work. Again past experience suggests that over complicating campaigns is one of the reasons they fail, so this campaign will focus on the early stages of the Govt drive on Basingstoke and the attempt by the local militia to stop them. That way, if everyone enjoys it, we can expand it depending on what happens. So if the Govt gets a bloody nose then maybe the counterattack on Reading might happen.
So again to keep things simple. I'll develop army lists for the two main forces - Nick with the fascist column and Tom the 'free Bassy' group. While I'll also do some nice little 'neutral' forces which might play a part. Then it will be up to the boys to write some simple orders and place their forces at the start line and we are off. I will aim for the campaign to be one which runs continually until something happens. So independent columns will carry out their orders as best they - and I! - think they can. This allows of nice fog of war and for insubordination or other issues to arise which personally I love in a campaign.
We'll be using the Warhammer Great War rules which are pretty simple, with some modifications and amendments suggested by a very nice chap at the Gentleman's Wargames Parlour. The casualties will be handled by a simple system I read about in an old White Dwarf - any unit reduced to below half strength, recovers to full strength. Any unit destroyed is gone for ever. Any unit reduced to above half strength gets a d6 of troops back. Any unit which routs from the table in a game is returned at half strength on a 5-6 on a d6.
Reinforcements will not be available, although some of the initial army lists will arrive after the campaign actual starts.
My only real challenge is finding a suitable map. I could draw one myself, but they never seem right, and I like using a real map so the hunt is on to try and find one suitable. If anyone has any ideas please let me know!