TTS Battle Day: Wars of the Roses

Time for another day of To The Strongest: with friend Neil bringing over his vast collection of 28mm Wars of the Roses figures for us to play with. These are all professionally painted Perry Miniatures plastics, including some hobelars specially put together for the occasion.

We managed three games in all.

The first, with me playing Yorkshire, was a nail-biting backwards-and-forwards kind of game where either side could have triumphed. As it happened, my mounted Later Knights, accompanied by Richard of York himself, suddenly managed to burst through the enemy battle line and find the way open to looting the Lancastrian camps. A hard fought victory.

The second, with me now playing the noble house of Lancaster, was again looking close. The two main lines had clashed in the centre of the field, and the luck was swaying backwards and forwards, when each sides’ one unit of Later-Knights-plus-Royal-Personage charged into each other. Luck was obviously on my side, as Richard of York (my erstwhile self but now enemy commander!) was wounded and carried from the field. This gave me the edge and gradually the opposition crumbled. A narrow victory.

Onto the third game, with Neil making sure that I would play to win and not gift him a consolation victory…which just goes to show how little you can know about someone you have known for years! Play to win? I was playing to grind him into the mud! Anyhow, this was a very cagey game: very different to the previous clashes. Neil hung back, not really moving (annoyingly keeping his troops out of the range of my single cannon, the only one on the field) and waiting for me to make the play.

I edged forward, thinking that perhaps I could get a bit of advantage on the right hand side: maybe two archer units vs one, kill them, then try and curl around the edge of his now-slightly-decreased line. Neil read my intentions, however, and moved troops forward to counter. A clash began to develop, and one not in my favour. He moved more units in and my right flank was beginning to crumble, when both of us realised that he had now moved forward into cannon range. Bang went the gun and finished off a unit of Men At Arms, giving me the initiative. Neil sent forward his Household Knights and King to plug the gap and force me back onto the defensive…and then either bang went the gun again or in went my Household Knights (I can’t remember which) and off came the head of Richard of York again!

A horrible piece of luck for Neal which once again swung the game in my favour.: making it a three-victory whitewash to me.

A great day’s gaming, however, but an interesting demonstration of how a non-normal distribution game mechanic can swing a game in seconds. Oh, and Neil wants to know if anyone wants to buy two 28mm Wars of the Roses armies, one with the command figure slightly dented! Here are some pics:

Q13 AAR: Rivets and Ribbets!

Those of you who read my last Q13 AAR will know that I am currently playing “king of the ring” with my new sci-fi factory complex. Last game, the Felids defeated the Hauk, so now it was their turn to defend, with their opponents being the Aphids: frog-like beings from Zombiesmith.

My opponents were Dave and John, who were on a strict time limit which actually nicely suited the type of game we were playing: they would play the Aphid attackers, and would have almost exactly 2½ hours to reduce my position.

Click on the picture below to see how they did:

IABSM AAR: Up From Asnelles

It’s been a few months since we’ve had one of these, but here’s another great WW2 After Action Report from Mark Luther.

Here’s his introduction:

I just got back from France and Normandy so I was in the mood for a D-Day game. I also wanted something basic and that would allow for both sides to do some manoeuvring, so a straight out assault on dug in stationery troops was out.

I came up with the move in from Asnelles by the B Company 2 Devons and the counterattack by the 916 Grenadier Regiment later in the day on June 6. The two German grenadier companies had two three-section Zugs. I rated them as poor troops. This company had two attached MMG teams. The German orders were to get off the north edge of the table. A pair of StuG IIIs would show later.

For the Brits, B Company of the 2 Devons had all three platoons, but I also rated them as poor troops for this game. Between being seasick and inexperienced they were not fully up to their game. A troop from the Sherwood Rangers were assigned as support but were running late. Their orders were to advance south and get off the table.They began on the north board edge.

Click on the picture below to see all…

IABSM AAR: Villa Santa Anna

Another great AAR from Mike Whitaker, using a set of terrain boards with which, after Market Larden, I am very familiar!

Set in Italy '44 again. The British (Carl, Rod) are tasked with taking the farm of Santa Anna, a German (Colin) strongpoint. They have a troop of Churchill NA75s, a carrier section and two infantry platoon, as well as a Vickers. Ranged against them are two understrength German platoons, a couple of MG42s, a StuG, and their CO's new pride and joy, an SdKfz 251/10.

Click on the picture of the Villa, below, to see what happened:

You can see more great content on Mike’s blog: Trouble at T’Mill

Q13 AAR: I Did See A Putty Cat!

Regular visitors will know that at this year’s Salute I purchased a bargain pack of mdf sci-fi terrain from TT Combat and have spent the last couple of months building it. It was now time to get some figures onto the table and actually use the damn thing!

The scenario was to be a simple attacker/defender game, with the Hauk (sci-fi birdmen from Khurasan) defending the industrial complex against an assault from the Felids (sci-fi lionmen, also from Khurasan). I would play the Hauk, friend Neal would play the Felids, and in order to make things interesting, there was a time limit for the Felids to take the complex.

Click on the picture below to see what happened:

IABSM AAR: The September War #60: Szack

Great battle report from Tim Whitworth and the Like A Stone Wall wargames group, this time featuring a recent game taken from the September War II scenario pack.

Here’s the background:

Soviet troops consisting of the 112th Infantry Regiment, some 13.000 soldiers supported by fifteen T-26 tanks and fifteen guns, arrived at the village of Szack on September 28th.

The Polish force near the village numbered 4.000 men of the Border Protection Corp, including General Wilhelm Orlik- Rückermann, and sixteen anti-tank guns.

Having taken the village, the Soviets then charged the Polish positions with infantry supported by the T-26 tanks. The Poles waited until the Soviets were right on top of them before opening fire with their antitank guns, destroying eight tanks.

The Polish troops now launched an all-out counterattack: covered by their artillery, the soldiers of the Border Protection Corps charged at their enemies with bayonets fixed. By the afternoon the village was back in Polish hands.

The game played last Friday takes up the story from that point on. Charged with the task of retaking the village, the Soviets again attacked in force. Click on the picture below to see all…

[I still can’t believe that, using Anton’s materials as a starting point, I wrote 60 scenarios for Poland 1939!]

AAR OML7 Game 2: IABSM: Recce vs Recce

My second game at this year’s Operation Market Larden (the Evesham Lardy day) was a rather exciting game of I Ain’t Been Shot, Mum. The scenario, written and umpired by Mike Whitaker, involved a clash between British and German reconnaissance forces somewhere in Italy in around 1943.

Click on the picture below to see all:

IABSM AAR: Sealion #06: The Road Inland

Tim Whitworth and friends recently played scenario #06 from the Operation Sealion scenario pack: The Raod Inland.

It is day S2 of the German invasion and the reconnaissance battalion of the Wehrmacht 26 Infantry Division is heading towards the sleepy village of Herstmonceaux. The reconnaissance unit is light in vehicles and most of the troops are mounted on bicycles ‘liberated’ from a sports shop in Pevensey.

So far British resistance has been patchy comprising of pockets of home guard and the occasional unit of regulars but the British are now frantically attempting to form a solid defensive line to the north of the landing beaches.

What will this day hold in store for Hauptmann Ralph Sturmer and his company? Click on the picture below to see all…

AAR OML7 Game 1: Chain of Command in Malaya

The first game that I played at this year’s Operation Market Larden was a game of Chain of Command set in Malaya 1941 put on in 28mm by Mark Backhouse.

The British, played by Matt Slade and I, were represented by a platoon of Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. We were defending: our mission was to prevent any Japanese troops exiting the table on our side: Mark, in the picture above, is standing behind the British baseline. A sub-plot also involved us getting a senior officer to the knocked out ambulance to rescue certain vital supplies.

As mentioned, we had a full platoon of Scottish infantry at our disposal: three sections, a light mortar team and a Boys anti-tank rifle team led by lots of officers. In support, we chose a Lanchester armoured car (mainly because this theatre is about the only place you can use one) and a roadblock, which we used to prevent the Japanese bringing any tanks on from the side road on our right flank.

The Japs, played by Jeff Davis and Ian Gilbraith, had the opposite idea. Their aim was to capture two thirds of the table (horizontally) allowing them to exit troops off the British baseline. They also had a secondary mission: explore the two huts in search of rice supplies.

The Japanese also had a full platoon to field, but their sections were enormous: fourteen strong IIRC. In addition to their three regular rifle sections, they also had a grenade launcher squad with three Mk89 teams. In support, they had a Chi Ha tank: something we were not looking forward to facing.

Patrol Phase

The Patrol Phase happened quickly, with the Japanese ending up with their Jump Off Points largely on their left side of the table. We had two of our JOPs on that side of the table too, but as we’d had to protect out entire front instead of being able to schwerepunkt along one road, we had another behind the hut on our left hand side of the table.

The Main Game Begins

The dice really fell for the Japanese in the early stages of the game. I’m not quite sure of the mechanic, but something about them rolling lots of 6’s on their Command Dice twice in a row meant that they shot up the battlefield until there was a section in the jungle to our right, the grenade launchers behind the hut just in front of our positions, and another section right in front of us in front of the hut.

The Japanese opened fire, promising huge amounts of devastation on our lead section. Fortunately (me rolling lots and lots of very low dice) the potential for large numbers of deaths was never realised. In fact, our only casualty was a junior officer knocked down…who promptly got back up again. This did, however, cost us two Force Morale points: the officer was obviously deeply unpopular!

Now the dice swung our way, and we had the chance to pour fire into the Japanese squad out in the open: which we did, knocking their strength down by half. At the same time, our Lanchester appeared, and promptly shot up the Japanese squad to the right.

It was all going so well…then this happened:

The Chi Ha took a shot at the Lanchester, hit it, and almost knocked it right back off the table. One more of them and we’d have no Lanchester left, and a dwindling number of Force Morale points.

Our light mortar popped some smoke down on the road between the Chi Ha and our armoured car, which gave us a little time to breathe…but what to do? There were still lots of Japs on the table, albeit half of them were pretty bashed up, but we needed to do something quickly and decisively if we weren’t going to spend the next four years building railways!

There was nothing for it: we would have to go forward and take the fight to the Japanese!

Bursting from the undergrowth, one of our sections rushed across the road to the right shouting strange Scottish epithets as they closed with the enemy. There were more Japanese there than we expected (the figures were hiding in the scenery!) and we lost the first round of close combat. This boded ill, but then Mark reminded us that as we were Scottish, we could ignore a loss by a mere one man, and carry on fighting until we were properly wiped out!

Back in went the Argylls, and in another two rounds of fighting (the Japs weren’t giving up the ghost easily either) we killed every enemy solider except one senior leader, who fled the field not to be seen again until 1966, when he finally emerged from the jungle not knowing the war had ended in ‘45!

The loss of so many of their men was too much for the already battered Japanese to survive. With a Force Morale of zero, they melted away back the way they’d come. Another successful Argyll ambush: time to fall back and do it all again tomorrow!

Aftermath

A cracking game of CoC, and one after which I am actually starting to remember the rules. I don’t think I’m switching from gaming companies in 15mm (IABSM, CDS, Q13) but I shall definitely play CoC again when I can.

Thanks to mark, Matt, Jeff and Ian for making it such a great game. Here are a few more piccies:

IABSM AAR: Pegasus Bridge Playtest

This year is the 75th anniversary of the successful assault on Pegasus Bridge by glider infantry of the 2nd Battalion, the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, British 6th Airborne Division, commanded by Major John Howard. The successful taking of the bridges played an important role in limiting the effectiveness of a German counter-attack in the days and weeks following the Normandy invasion.

The Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum (SOFO) is putting on an exhibition to celebrate the anniversary, and it looks as if a few of us might be able to run a demo game of IABSM one weekend at the museum to help bring the event to life for the general public.

All the running for this is being done by friend Dave, so all I had to do recently was to take part in a playtest of the game to be run. Click on the picture below to see all…

IABSM AAR: Sochaczew

Always nice to see people using my support material to play their games, so here’s an after action report from Tim Whitworth and the Like a Stonewall wargamers using the Sochaczew scenario that I wrote for the TwoFatLardies Summer Special 2017.

Set in 1939, Polish troops are desperately defending the town as the German infantry and Panzers sweep in. Click on the picture below to see what happened…

TTS AAR: The Sasanids Ride Out!

The final game in my recent set with Neil was my Sasanid Persians versus, again, the Pyrrhics.

This promised to be quite interesting: an army composed of extra heavy cavalry and horse archers against a mostly spear and pike-armed force.

In the event, however, it turned out to be quite a mundane battle. My horse archers quickly got around his flanks and started shooing anything that moved. In the centre, I held back until his heavy foot advanced past a line of hills running down the centre of the battlefield, leaving only one unit each side to guard their flanks.

As the two main lines came together, the single unit of heavy clibanari that I had put with each horse-archer command was just coming into play, pinning his flank units in place as the lighter cavalry shot at and charged their flanks.

With his flanks crumbling, his main line getting nowhere, and horse-archer nipping at his Hoplites’ heels, Pyrrhus decided that discretion was the better part of valour and surrendered!

A workmanlike victory for the Sasanids.

Even More To The Strongest

More pictures from a recent day of To The Strongest gaming.

First game was a replay of the last: me and my Ancient Britons vs Neil and the Pyrrhics.

Unfortunately, this time he protected his flanks well, and kept his battle line very closely together. I tried the same tactics as before: warbands in the middle, outflank with the chariots, but this time just couldn’t get through.

On my left flank, he advanced as quickly as possible and used his cavalry to drive my chariots back until they were forced off table. His cavalry were then free to take one of my camps and then turn back towards the rear of my line. meanwhile, the elephants and lights on his left flank were doing exactly the same thing: drive my lights back with charges that might not actually connect, but do force my lights to evade and evade until they are no longer relevant to the main action.

In the centre, my infantry were held by his Hoplites and pikemen until his cavalry appeared in my rear…and that, as they say, was that!

A loss to the Ancient Britons.

Robert Avery