Monday, 21 August 2017

Game 55 : Prokorovka revisited, small scale

This battle sees us back to the Eastern front in 1943 and Prokorovka. There is a largish game planned for the bank holiday weekend and this was a smaller playtest between myself and Graham to ensure that it would work.

The forces involved are the best forces both sides can provide. Troops quality is good and the equipment is good.
The Russians are based on the 1st Tank Army and the Germans are based on Das Reich Panzergrenadier Division, albeit the latter is really a tank formation.

There are lots of choices to be made by both sides before the game starts regards choice of "extras". The aim of the battle is strategic control of the battlefield or the defeat of opposing forces. Both sides have an air component and artillery support.

The battle we fought was a lot smaller but it included a lot of the flavour that is expected in the bigger game. More importantly, Graham and I thought it worked out well and bodes well for the larger conflict.

I won't expand on "who won" or the detail of what happened as we don't want to give away clues prior to the actual bigger game. The pics selected were fewer in number and the explanations are somewhat devoid of detail to keep the fog of war in place.

This pic is just to show that the Russian air force (VVS) does exist! It actually shot down a Stuka being escorted by an Fw 190 (which did shoot down a fighter and damage a second one)

Russian JSU 152s plodding (literally) over the battlefield. They have some naughty 152mm guns and excellent frontal armour. But they must be stationary to shoot. So lots of manoeuvring Germans.

Russian & German infantry contesting the "field" areas. The battlefield still has a lot of visibility cover for infantry, able to sneak up on unsuspecting armour.

Action in our centre with Russian infantry regrouping. There was a lot of backwards and forwards by both sides but I won't say who ended up where.

Troops from both sides fail morale! An eastern front stand off. We played over 2 full days and got a result that we thought was sensible. Both sides had their portion of luck at times and the winning of initiative at the start of a turn played a significant part towards who held the tactical initiative. Needless to say it changed hands many times. I think we played 18 turns, so we were going at a good pace.
The next game will the full version for this set up and will be the next report. Until then!

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Game 54 : Weisseritz to Grossgarten : Dresden the Centre : take II

This battle is a second playtest for the centre section of the large Dresden game coming up early next year. The reason for extensive play testing is obvious, it irons out wrinkles in game design and game play. This game was very useful as it demonstrated how massed attacks could work if done with enough planning, but also that they could be thwarted by equally good defensive planning.

The other difference is that the pics come mostly from the camera of Neil, he only took a couple of hundred!! Neil, as any of you know, runs a painting service from the near shores of Bangladesh. An awful lot of the figures on view were painted by his team.

The pics are in no particular order, but they do give a different flavour, especially the high angle shots.

This is a shot from the far south east of the battlefield which is the allied right. The Grossgarten can be seen in front of Brian as he works out how to seize the feature.

This is from the northwest with the city of Dresden in the immediate foreground. Outside the city are the outskirts. The hedges represent Chevau de frisse, a special "terrain feature" for this battle.

A close up of new troops who have just joined the swelling ranks of Allies. These are Prussian line battalions. The Guards and Grenadiers are not far behind.

The high angle shot is of the Grossgarten. It is huge, as it was historically. Roughly two Divisions per side will fit in the feature to contest it. It is played as a garden, not unforming troops, but restricting visibility. Cavalry and artillery are only allowed to enter if they are attempting to use the road network and even then they are not allowed to deploy into a combat formation.

The Russians have committed two Divisions to the Grossgarten, the French have committed one Young Guard Division inside and another one outside.

Massed Austrian columns move across the centre to attack the Lunettes and outlying outskirt villages.

A swirling view of the battle raging in and around the Grossgarten. This battle would rage for most of the day.

Austrians assault the first village on their left flank near the Weisseritz stream. It was garrisoned by French Marines, not an easy force to eject.

An Austrian column hits the central Lunette nr.3 Fighting was fierce but eventually the French were driven back. We had a new rules that retreat was not allowed from a Lunette. Morale failure of retreat or rout resulted in the troops dispersing.

A longer shot showing the Austrian columns in the main front line attacking as large battering rams. It didn't always work!! I've added a couple of pics from my camera, it uses a tripod so I can get my usual close down type pics

This shows three Austrian columns about to assault targets to their front. Even if they succeed, they have to deal with the French reserves who are in the heart of the outskirts and still having good lines of communication.

I included this pic to give a fell of the action across nearly the whole length we were fighting. It looks like a wall of infantry! Good planning was required to get cavalry into useful positions in this sector.

The height of the battle in the Grossgarten. Numbers would eventually tell and the French Young Division very sensibly successfully retired before being consumed by attrition. It would get to refit but the Russians held the Grossgarten. 
Brian is bemoaning the fact that he didn't have both Young Guard Divisions in the Grossgarten. He is already planning how to wrestle control away from the Russians.
The usual rogues gallery of players. Even the weather was good!! The next offering will be a series of WII battles, all based on Prokorovka at Kursk, ranging from "encounter battles" to a more serious effort with a Russian Tank Army. Until then!