Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Here come the Rebs!

A long-time back burner project that has been, on and off, the painting tray for the past 2 years... but it is finally done. Woo-Hoo! or Yee-Har!

My Confederate Army for ACW, and mainly the Longstreet rules. It is a basic force, with everything needed to play a Longstreet campaign against my Union forces. So now I have brigades for both sides... always nice to finish a big project... 4 Infantry regiments, 1 Cavalry regiment, 2 3 gun cannon batteries and limbers and command stand, sharpshooters and 'hero' marker.  Most are Perry miniatures, metals and plastics, with some Foundry and Dixon included as well. Future expansion will be another cavalry unit and a fifth infantry unit... more men in grey/brown sludge!

It has been too long for a game of Longstreet... so these Rebs will get a first run out soon. Phone camera obviously struggling at this focal distance... hence the blurriness (oops).

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Wilhelmsfeld - A BG: NorthAG playtest.

Latest in a series of play-test games which are doing a good job of honing the rules. This battle saw my Russians pushing on towards Hannover, with the Brits still in the way. I’m not going to give a blow by blow account, except with the pictures. My force was little different this time, trying a few things (you have to). I had a Combat Air Patrol (fighter top cover) for the first time, but it did little, as the Brits had not gone for any fast jet support. Also, to try and neutralise his Gazelle spotting or artillery I had counter-battery fire missions to suppress those Abbots. This time, no Abbots! Tsch!

The game was rather dominated by helicopter gunships, the RAF turning up with 2 Tow-armed Lynxes and my own Hind also put in an appearance (and wasn’t shot down). Neither side’s AA could do anything about them, as they issued destruction with ATGMs anywhere on the board… the balance didn’t seem quiet right here. Work required.

The reinforcements request had a big effect too. I had 3 to make for this battle, reduced to 2 by NATO 'interdiction air strikes' behind the lines. One of these requests failed - due to enemy electronic warfare interference, so the only reinforcements I got all game was my Hind. No extra tanks, which for the Russians is a bit of banker (usually). Just 10 T-64As were no match for 7 Chieftains. The BAOR got some extra AT support from a Swingfire battery, which also did good work from their ridge line hull down firing position. ATGMs were the real killers on this battlefield… so again that needed looking at. Ammo restrictions will soon be in place.

Highlights of the game for me included my own ATGM armed BRDMs killing 2 Chieftains!! Woo-hoo, my Hind causing havoc with its many various rockets - gotta enjoy a UB-32 multiple rocket strike! Finally, our infantry got in a big firefight for the central farm… 1 platoon aside, with RPGs and ’66’s flying, and both locked into a bit of FIBUA determined not be pinned and then jumped by enemy close assaults - many chits were taken to unpin. I found that my BTRs were of little extra use, even with their MG suppressing fire shot aiding the dismounts. Exposing themselves caused them to die… to 66s and Chieftain guns. At least with an FV-432 you know to just pull back and hide. Lesson learnt, the BTRs are not fighting vehicles. Hide them. 

Here are some shots as the battle unfolded.

 First turn, BRDM recce grabs the road junction objective in no-man's land. 

 CAP covering the battlefield, and under employed with no enemy jets to intercept. 

 Early mortar barrage gets an unlucky Scimitar as it moved up on the central farm. 

Thwoppa-thwoppa, the first Lynx arrives on a random chit draw. Long fields of fire for its 8 TOWs. 

BRDM taken-out by the second Scimitar - no more mortar spotting from him. 

Red tank company arrives, 5 T-64s going right, 5 going left. The first wave, with a planned second wave to come via a Reinforcement request. 

 The right flank tank group.

 They reach the road behind the BRDMs and take cover before the push for the next objective (also my 'vital objective'). At the moment held by a single Scimitar. 

SA-13 'Gopher' AA support for tanks against that lurking Lynx, rolls on. If only it could actually hit!

Chieftains now in place to face my right tank group, but under mortar fire (like they care!).  

 I launch the tank group across the ploughed field, 125mm guns opening up on those Chieftains.  

The motor rifle platoon will follow, having deployed their 'Grail' team to try and counter the Lynx.

Ouch, TOW hits, Chieftain hits... the right tank group is annihilated quickly. 

The Chieftains push-up having cut a swathe through the Russian tanks.

But one catches an ATGM in return and dies! 

The lurking victor... medal for him.

...but on the counter draw a second Lynx arrives!! Great. 

 Under than smoke is my 'Shilka', TOWed to death by the Lynx. Another victim. 
The SA-13 followed soon after.

The remaining left flank tank group move into the cover of the plantation, ready for their own attack. 

With their own ATGM support in place.

British infantry carriers arrive and head for the central farm.

 Whilst three more Chiefatins are on station to face the flanking Russian armour. 
Here under artillery fire (one pinned).

 My Hind choppers in as a reinforcement. Time to get my own back for the Lynx-pain. 
This think has serious firepower.

 Awaiting the final attack order, in relative safety. Try to get those Chieftains pinned, then go for it! Fortunate favours the bold!

 Motor rifles dismount into the large farm.

Just as the Brits also roll up at the farm house. 
A big infantry firefight is about to break out.

In the courtyard a BRDM, T-64 and Scimitar all burn. Bit of a mess.

 Mortar fire on the British APCs and infantry as they try to get that farm. Slows them down.

 A bold Cheiftain pushes up to claim the road junction objective, then is blown up by the Hind's ATGM (from behind)... another helo victim.

 With 2 of 3 Cheiftains pinned (by the Hind's UB-32 rocket strike), my left tank group break cover and attack. Ambush fire pins one of the five T-64s as they emerge. Stal! Stal! Stal!

 Storming across the road. Victory or death! 3 tanks died quickly to distant ambush firing Swingfire missiles and the unpinned Chieftain.

 Flanking the first Cheiftian my last 2 tanks kill it. 

 The firefight for the farm rages on, with a lot of pinning, and my BTR-60s, trying to use their MGs in support, become more scrap metal. British infantry carry 66s... good at this close-up work. 

The overview. A. British defences on ridge line, supported by 2 Swingfire ATGM tracks. B. Chieftain advance with recce Scimitars, supported by Lynx. C. Infantry advance to farm in FV432s. D. 3 Chieftains blocking Russian flank force. E Russian right tank group with BRDM recce. F. Motorised rifles advance to farm in BTRs. G. Left flank tank group.

But, with no extra reinforcements coming to help the Russians... no second tank wave, the attack ended here. 8 from 10 T-64A were wrecked, as were both my AA vehicles, both my recce armoured cars and most of my BTRs... the infantry were hanging on, but were unlikely to hold the farm once the British infantry got their support to help them. It was a solid NATO win... but not without cost, 4 of 7 Cheiftains were KO'd... mostly due to the Hind (which is a beast). His Rapier and Blowpipe team had done zippo to stop it. Likewise my 'Shilka', SA-13 and Grail team couldn't do much to thwart his twin Lynxes... AA is far too ineffective atm, so will be upgraded. Also, it didn't feel right to have a jet fighter on combat air patrol, with no targets, but enemy helicopters on the table. So CAPs and their air-to-air missiles need to be able to effect helos too. 

There were a few other thinks to consider too, ammo for ATGMs has been a possibility for a while, and will now be introduced. That will also also allow for supply trucks to re-arm them. I'd like to get ambulances in somehow too... not sure what they'd do though. Will think on it. Also, Engineers and engineering vehicles aren't playing any part in the games... need to upgrade them a bit and make them worth having. 

So, as you can all see, NorthAG is still a WIP, but getting there. Games are fun though.

Monday, 20 May 2019

NorthAG, DorfstraBe...

A Sunday afternoon game of NorthAG, worth revisiting the rules after awhile, to see if they still stand-up and my opponent had been keen on a game for awhile, to run out his Royal Green Jackets battlegroup (the unit he served with).

The game itself was a 700 points, a company-sized game, and lasted 5 hours, which is long, but one player was brand new to it, and I was doubling checking rules often - and couldn’t find a few (AA missile vs helicopter, where are you!!).

This was my Russian force;
Forward Screen
Air Defence Battery           22    2    SA-9 + ‘Shilka'
Arm Recce Patrols x3        18    2    BTR-60, scout
                                           18    2    BTR-60, scout
                                           18    2    BTR-60, scout
FOO                                   12    2    Dug-in, mortar spotter
ATGM Dug-out (AT-4)      21    1    Dug-in, ambush

T-64B Company                320    20    x10

Main Column
Motor Rifle Platoon           44    10    3 x fire teams, 3 x AT teams, 3 x BTR-60
BG Commander                 38    4    T-64BK, senior officer
82mm mortar battery         32    0    x4 tubes, off-table

Additional Support
2 x Timed 152mm art strikes    56    0    6 guns
Timed Mi-23 air strike              15    0    2 x large bombs
Deployed smoke screen            20    0   

Reinforcement Requests
x3                                              60    0

Roughly, the BAOR where;

1 Gazelle scout helo
2 Scimitars
1 Ferret armoured car
1 Marked Minefield
1 Roadblock

Dug-in infantry platoon with attached Milan Team
Sustained fire GPMG, dug-in
FOO, dug-in

Armoured Infantry platoon in FV-432s with attached Blowpipe AA team
2 Chieftain ‘Stillbrew’ troops (3 tanks each)
Tactical Operations centre
Towed Rapier launcher with land rover

Battery of 4 Abbot SP guns (105mm) off-table
1 Counter Battery airstrike

2 reinforcement requests

The game begins with only the forward screen on the table, his dug-in platoon holding an objective, whilst my armoured recce patrols headed right, to seize the factory objective and form a screen on my right, in the woods. My AA battery awaited on ambush fire.

Th first 2 turns are just the recce phase and the scouts manoeuvred, the Scimitars reaching the road junction that would be the crux of the battle and claiming it, as my recce troops took the factory building. My ‘Shilka’ and SA-9 both fired at the Gazelle as it hugged the ground, to spot for the Abbots, and pinned it (good). My first timed 152mm arty strike was too early, smashed into the woods on the British hill, to find nothing there… oh dear.

Turn 3 and the Vanguards arrived, the first Chieftains plowing up the road to secure the objective from the Scimitars. My tanks deployed en masse. Three would be a diversion, to draw away his tank fire to the right, and they set off at full speed, heading for the ploughed field. The others massed for the main assault on my left. Unfortunately, unpinning from mortar fire, the British pulled a Gunship counter and rolled well for it, an unexpected Lynx choppered in, 8 tow missiles ready… eek! My ‘Shilka’ turned its guns on it and in a blaze of fire pinned it too. The British FOO final got his radio tuned in and call in the Abbots, but their first salvo caused only a single pinned T-64. They would continue their fire all game - the Brits with 3 spotters (Gazelle, FOO in his foxhole on the hill and skulking Ferret armoured car) and a comms re-roll when the Tac Ops track arrived, it was hard to stop them shooting (no counter-battery fire missions - lesson learnt).

Russian mortar fire was on the far hill, harassing the infantry around the objective. A lucky hit blew his Milan post sky-high, and a bit of pinning, but nothing to worry the guys in their foxholes overly.

The initial jockeying for position was over, time for the main event. My tank company rolled, unleashing HE suppressing fire and pinning a single Chieftain. The return fire was, well, wide of the mark in some poor dice rolling…

Unfortunately, it was now turn 5 and the main column could start to roll in. 3 more Chieftains, the Tac Ops track, the Ferret… suddenly it was 6 Cheiftains to 10 T-64Bs, not good odds. One T-64 also broke down and was immobilised on a special counter. So 9 vs 6… I needed more tanks, but reinforcements requests can only be made from Turn 7, so I would have to soldier on.

I tried, but the British tanks found their range and in 1 turn executed 5 T-64s, the fields strewn with burning wrecks, and first company was all but done already. My second timed arty strike hit the road junction and caused pinning and destroyed a Scimitar. The second Scimitar died to a T-64s long range shot. The two British helos, in tandem, where both struggling to get into the battle, heavily pinned by Shilka and incoming SA-9 missiles. That duel would go on all game.

On my right, the three T-64s, (the diversionary force) were now the man threat, and 3 Chieftains came after them. One was pinned by a unseen RPG shot from the woods by my recce infantry team on ambush fire… result. The others started to do their thing, and suddenly I had only one T-64 left over there too. But the diversion had done its job, drawn 3 Chieftains to them.

Turn 7, need reinforcements, and I asked for a Hind gunship… with those Chieftains to kill it carries the grunt for the job. In it came, hurrah, lining up the Chieftains at the road junction. Until, whoosh, the Rapier on ambush fire launched and rolled, 6, followed by  6… then I rolled a 1 followed by a 1 - boom! Blown out of the sky, and 2 chits for the loss… hell, this was not going well, as my best AT asset went down in a big fireball.

The Brits also requested extra aid, Airborne troops (he has 2 Pumas full of paras!). This first request was turned down - good. My next request was for extra tanks… I only had 2 left rolling from 1st company. It too was turned down… for now. I couldn’t ask for another gunship, because you can only have 1 successful request per game for any assets. In turn 9, I asked for the tanks again and they were granted, and en route, 10 more T-64s. That had the Brits worried, but he still had 6 Chieftains, all now unpinned.

My late timed air strike saw the MiG-23 streak in and bomb the road junction, pinning a tank and an FV-432, having dodged the incoming Rapier shot. Not bad for a cheap hit, and counter for ‘under air attack’ too.

Both sides had taken a lot of counters… but the Brits were ahead. A lull in the first wave of fighting, waiting for a turn (both with poor orders), then it was time for the second tank assault. Not splitting up this time… 10 T-64s piled forwards and unleashed more HE suppressing fire at the Chieftains, pinning 4 of them - yes! Unfortunately, the Lynx was now unpinned and pop-up to smash one T-64 into scrap with a TOW strike. The Abbots were also back in action, adding some pinning, from the Ferret crew on the radio.

The Brits used their last reinforcement request and boldly went for airborne support again… and passed. Drat. 2 Pumas and 8 more infantry stands inbound for anywhere on the table. My ‘Shilka’ and SA-9 would be very busy… but they just couldn’t roll well enough with multiple targets to go after. The first Puma deposited its paras for an assault on the factory objective, where my infantry were pinned from early artillery fire. There would a short close assault in the building, but the paras won it, loosing 2 stands in the process but claiming that objective, after a ’66’ destroyed my BTR-60, the last unit holding it. My infantry were too scattered to counter-attack, and my orders rolls weren’t good either. What orders I had went on the tanks, which rolled forwards and switched to AP rounds. Several hits, but no penetrations… these Chieftains are tough… and now unpinned. Their return fire was accurate again… and 3 more T-64s were wrecked.

I was close to breaking, 1 more chit would do it. That chit came when the second Puma swooped down and 4 more para stands hopped out and open fire on the objective in my deployment zone (my corner). Another ’66’ launched and found its mark, my SA-9 AA armoured car, and it destroyed. That counter broke my force… BR total 57, counters now totalling 59. Game over. This Russian attack was called off… resistance was too fierce. There was no way through to Hannover here today.

The Brits had reached 43 BR from their total of 60, so a solid win. I’d lost 13 T-64s for, err… no Chieftains… a bit embarrassing really. A good game and a good test, I have a few tweaks to make… but it played well, the objective rules again worked really well, and the reinforcement rolls (which are an optional rule as they can swing things wildly and make the game longer), I like. He had used 2, and got his Airborne platoon from them. I had use 3 and got my ill-fated Hind and 10 extra T-64s - the second wave. It wasn’t enough to win the game for me, but it put me back in the game when I looked out of it.

Artillery needs some thinking about, his 4 Abbots were harassing, but killed nothing. My 152mm timed strikes… well got 1 Scimitar. Need more of them really, they might have to be a bit cheaper in points. I have downgraded artillery effectiveness from BG though, to try and focus on the tank fight more.

Here are few bad snaps, busy with the game and explaining rules to a new player, so it was all a bit of rush. Still, you get the idea and hopefully and idea of the size of forces too. The board was 6 x 6… perfect for a medium ‘company-sized’ game. All models are 10mm.

DorfstraBe... Brits from top left corner, Russians from bottom right. 

Across these fields the Red Army will come.

The road and the factory objective. Road junction beyond, another objective.

 First Russians arrive...

Road block, cratered and impassible. 

 Gazelle takes up station for artillery spotting

 Abbot barrage smashed onto the hill, but doing little

 Recce BTRs rolling out to the right, somebody garden is getting wrecked.

Scimitars first to the road junction

A lucky early Lynx gunship arrives to help out. 

 As the first Chieftain troop arrives

3 T-64s head right behind the recce force, my little diversion.

 The main strike force

Just before the British tanks found their range (rolled well) and cut them to shreds 

 Like this

Main column arrives along DorfstraBe. 

 Skulking out of sight, Shilka, T-64 command tank and Sagger team (3 shots 3 misses - rubbish).

 Abbots shell the factory

 Securing the road junction objective

 Diversion right in place

Air strike hits the road junction

 2ns wave of Red armour, passing the despiriting wreckage of the first wave... not a good sign. 

 Pumas inbound with aggressive paras onbound, spoiling for a fight.

 Last infantry reinforcements roll in, too late to help out much

 Th British advance beyond the cross road, even the Carly G got a few shots off at BTRs... and missed.
 2nd Company press on into the open field, firing as they come

 Second Puma drop-off... paras jump out and '66' the SA-9... end of game.