Saturday, 22 April 2017

By Fire and Sword in Somewhere near new Pommerania shortly after 1660

Every time its the same, I think I have grasped the rules rudimentarily, just to be beaten by Bart even while he's handicapped by a big flue. My movement orders are clumsy, the fire power of the Swedish crown forces vanish into thick smoke, just like all my efforts in the end, only to be swept up nicely by the all towering Polish Hussars at the end of the debacle, as "battle" wouldn't do it justice.
Thankfully Bart has lend me the rules in English, so at least for the next time I have the opportunity to be prepared.

We played a river crossing scenario out of the book, I had the weaker Swedish forces awkwardly defending the fort and the bridge ... attacked with my Reiters the Hussars, phhfff, what a foolish thing of me to do, then I tried to retreat behind the bridge and shoot, puffs of smoke, really, but then some flanking Polish light cavalry appeared behind my lines, then again, I tried to re-group my forces but it felt more like radio-operating the clay version of the Colossus of Rhodes ... next thing I know my forces were scattered in the winds - game over.

Figures and game by Bart, terrain by SESWC.

The scenario out of the book

Saturday, 8 April 2017

The Guns of August - the Hötzendorf test

As I‘m hoping to play "the Guns of August" as a Grand campaign miniature game this year (high hopes, I know), I need to do a lot of test games with folks! This time it was Bart, who likes pick up Gen. v. Hötzendorf's role (Bart gets the Austro-Hungarians) in the greater game, huzzah! Again it was the western front, as still a lot of minis are missing - predominantly the Russians and all of the smaller eastern European states. So I gave him the Germans and myself defended Belgium and Paris with the allied troops.

Bart then decided to change the Schlieffen plan and dig right through the middle. The Belgians decided to defend Antwerpen instead of Liege as it hold more points as an objective city. The German advance was rather slow and stopped prematurely at the Maas. But then the French had to follow their Plan 17 doctrine and "had" to attack in the 1st month - with the expectable high casualty rate and the loss of Nancy, ouch!

Then suddenly in October Bart concentrated the German siege guns and his best troops around Verdun and attacked in one go (no attrition attack, one straight hit!) and blasted the complete garrison away - Verdun was in the hands of the enemy! 

Mon dieu! As this is unthinkable, I immediately started a counter offensive, but due to lack of guns, which I lost previously in the plan 17 attacks, I failed disastrously and ripped a gigantic hole right in the middle of the French front. Even the later arriving Tommies and their counter attack south of Antwerpen couldn‘t fix the issue.

We stopped here, as Bart surely wouldn't get the much needed second objective city until December, but in fairness, in a grand campaign, Bart would have secured a fortified western front including Verdun AND the possibility for an early breakthrough! So, if not a tactical, at least a (bigger) strategical victory that would have left the Allies struggle for the next coming year a least! Well done, Bart!

Also a thing to remember, never ever attack a fortress on a hill without artillery support!!! Ever.

The situation at the start

The Germans are invading. Liege offers no resistance at all, the Belgian army defends Antwerpen.

Heavy fighting sees Verdun fall as early as in October!

Front line at the end November 1914

The Gap in the French line