Heretical Gaming is my blog about my gaming life, featuring small skirmishes and big battles from many historical periods (and some in the mythic past or the far future too). The focus is on battle reports using a wide variety of rules, with the occasional rules review, book review and odd musing about the gaming and history. Most of the battles use 6mm-sized figures and vehicles, but occasionally 15mm and 28mm figures appear too.

Tuesday 14 February 2017

Nuts! Normandy '44 Campaign - Mission 02: Attack on Blanchemaison

Following on from their success in their intial patrol mission, our plucky Brits from the Tyneside Scottish have been assigned their second task in the Nuts! Final Version Normandy 1944 campaign - an attack on the edge of the small town of Blanche Maison.

Nuts! Final Edition

The "Attack" mission calls for the deployment of a full platoon, so I used the following order of battle:

Platoon HQ:
Me - Platoon Commander (SMG) Rep 6
Sgt Kerr - (SMG) Rep 5
Pte Hopkins - Rifle/Signaller Rep 4
PIAT team (2 x Rep 4)
2" Mortar team (1 x Rep 4, 2 x Rep 3)

1 Section:

Cpl Williams - Section Commander (rifle) Rep 5
LCpl Robson - Section 2IC (rifle) Rep 4
Pte Charlton - Bren Gunner Rep5
Pte Todd - Bren Gunner 2nd Rep 4
Pte Armstrong -  Rifleman Rep 4
Pte Brown - Rifleman Rep5
Pte Elliot - Rifleman Rep3
Pte Johnson - Rifleman Rep4

2 Section:
Cpl Robinson - Section Commander (rifle) Rep 5
+7 inc. JNCO, Bren Gunner + no.2, 4 Riflemen (all Rep 4)

3 Section:
 Cpl Armstrong - Section Commander (rifle) Rep 5
+9 inc. JNCO, Bren Gunner + no.2, 4 Riflemen (Rep 4, except Rifleman 9 & 10 are Rep 3)

The Battle:

The SW approach to Blanche Maison.  The British approach from the South (bottom), using the hedge, contours and buildings for cover. 

A closer look from the lead element of 2 Section towards the pond and the village

1 Section approach a farm on the right flank

...and the riflemen move through whilst the Bren covers the road junction.  The Bren team guns down a Panzerschrek team which attempts to nip across the road past the hedge.

Eek! The remainder of a German Platoon turns up on the British left flank!  The riflemen of 3 section engage and there are casualties on both sides.  The German machinegunners are temporarily silenced as they suffer three wounded, but one of the British riflemen is killed out right.

Another German section is generated and tries to outflank 3 Section.  However, 1 Section is in the perfect position to enfilade the Germans as they cross the road.  In less than a minute, half the Germans are hors de combat.

A wider view at the same moment.

When the German NCO goes down, the Germans caught on the road break and run.

Situation on the left at the end of the battle - more Germans are generated (off-picture top right) so the British Pl Comd, after losing another man to the German platoon in the field (who have got their MG42s back into action), decides to withdraw.  This was carried out without further ado.  Mission failed!
Outcome: That didn't go too well, did it?!  The Germans were clearly in the village in company strength and the Brit Pl Comd figured that pushing the attack would be suicidal.  Because the actual firefights in the game happened in circumstances helpful to the British, the Germans lost more men (4 KIA, 8 WIA) against 2 KIA, 4 WIA for the British, but there was clearly no chance once the second German Platoon was generated.  This is just the way it goes in Nuts! though...the advantages that the British gained in the firefights were lost because of the formidable German reinforcement rolls.

Game Notes: Not an entirely satisfactory game, this.  Nothing at all to do with the rules, which again performed admirably, but from set-up issues on my part. After the success of the first game, I once again plumped for using my 6mm figures.  However, although individually-based 6mm figures were okay in section-strength, when I began to set-up a full platoon, it just became annoying.  So, I decided to use the multiple-based figures which I normally use for WRG 1925-1950 Platoon and Company-level actions, figuring that since much of the information was kept on rosters anyway, I would simply use the rosters for engagements and not worry too much about the status of individual figures.  This all worked absolutely fine.  Where the problems did arise was that Nuts! really requires that the exact position of each figure in relation to the terrain and LOS is known, in a way impossible with multi-based figures.  So this meant I had to put in a "reality test" at various stages, to work out where figures within the section would be in reality, using the base only as indicative.  This did work after a fashion, but it did slow and stress the game, because it didn't rattle along with its normal speed.  It may be that this can be made to work, but I will need to do some more thinking and testing before I try this again.  Or I may just switch and use my 15mm figures!  The reason that I haven't done this is that I don't have much 15mm terrain and I have a far smaller selection of 15mm vehicles, should they be needed.  So more thought needed before I proceed.
Rules were of course the Nuts! final version from Two Hour Wargames, figures from Baccus, Adler and GHQ, buildings from Total Battle Miniatures and Leven Miniatures.

Monday 13 February 2017

"Bickering Across A Stream" - A small action using Paddy Griffith's Napoleonic Skirmish rules

I hadn't managed to get my 28mm Napoleonics to the table since painting them up last year.  The figures are the rather beautiful Perry plastic Napoleonics: I have the French, British and Austrian infantry boxed sets.  I settled on trying out a small game of the skirmish game in Paddy Griffith's Napoleonic Wargaming for Fun.

The Forces:
Both the British and the French forces consisted of a patrol of five infantrymen, all "B" class.

The Scenario:
Each patrol is advancing towards each other, unaware that they are about to encounter opposition.  Each side wishes to secure the stream.  The basic solitaire command mechanism was for each side to roll a D6 each turn, to indicate aggression levels, with a -1 for each seriously wounded or killed friendly soldier and +1 for each seriously wounded or killed enemy soldier.  If a side rolls a modified "0", all surviving troops will run away.

The Battle:
A five-man French patrol advancing from the bottom approach a similar British patrol advancing from the top.

Blanc, van der Vaart, Napoli, Dubois and Dupont advancing...

Hopkins, White, Lawlor, Robson and Brown on the far side of the stream

First contact! Blanc, van der Vaart and Napoli seek cover behind the top of the hill, but Blanc trips.  Dubois and Dupont are hit by the fire of Robson and White respectively: Dubois is injured and Dupont is killed a mere second after his own musket misfired.

A better view of the British firing line.  Hopkins on the left also misfired.

And the view from the British side.

The French, in spite of their losses, move aggressively forward and begin to cross the stream.

Meanwhile the British run behind the hill to reload.  Lawlor trips and falls.  He tries to get up but is grazed by a musket ball fired by Napoli.

The French charge, but Blanc and Napoli stumble when crossing the river and Van der Vaart ends up charging alone! 

Lawlor and Van der Vaart slug it out, hand-to-hand

Lawlor gets very lucky: Van der Vaart missed his point-blank range shot and then got bayoneted by Lawlor, despite the latter's injury.  Van der Vaart surrendered.  Meanwhile Brown has finshed off the already wounded Dubois with a fine piece of shooting.

The remaining French pair decide to break off the action.
 Game Notes: A good fun game that rattled along very quickly.  The set-up was designed to give familiarity to the rules rather than to give a particularly engrossing tactical challenge, but it worked admirably on that score.  The table at 2'x2' would normally be rather too small for these rules, but I wanted a quick action.
Troops are rated A-G depending on how skilful and motivated they are.  When personnel are injured, they drop ratings to reflect their reduced performance.  This neatly deals with wounds, so that Imperial Guardsmen with a minor wound are likely to remain pretty effective, whilst Portuguese militiamen will be pretty useless.
The command and control of personnel is done by written orders - essentially a single word like "move", "fire", "reload" or "get up" next to a name on the roster.  So, for Brown, the written orders went Walk-Hold-Run-Fire-Reload etc. The game is based on simultaneous movement. That worked alright, although this leaves a certain amount of interpretation up to the player(s): at what point in a move is a moving target shot at, for example.  However, the overall process is pretty quick and intuitive and didn't feel too intrusive into the game.  The mechanisms were very intuitive and the calibration of effects felt about right, although perhaps giving a running man a 20% chance of tripping over seems excessive!  But, on the other hand, if we reckon that it includes the effects of cognitive blink and confusion and so on, perhaps it works out alright.  There are various factors to modify chances to hit and so on, but they are all pretty basic and don't slow down the gsame appreciably.  The game uses D10 for all its rolls, which allows for quite a range of results but still allows plaers to understand quickly the probabilities of actions being successful (or not).
The rules do what they say they will do: provide a fun Napoleonic wargame with a minimum of fuss.  On this initial playthrough, recommended.
The figures used were from Perry Miniatures (my painting does not do these beauties justice!).