About Wargamerabbit

Wargamer of the times in Northern Los Angeles, CA

FOW Stoumont Dec 1944

For the upcoming President’s Day weekend Strategicon GAMEX convention (Feb15th-18th), WR plans to run Chris Baxter’s Stoumont 1944 Bulge FOW / Rapid Fire scenario described below. After reading several historical accounts for this battle, WR has made slight force adjustment changes, to the original scenario, to reflect the actual engaged historical forces (reduced to one-third), and minor typographical terrain changes taken from Google maps.

The complete original Flames of War Stoumont .pdf file:  Stoumont scenario notes

Forces and Order of Battle: The OOB taken from the Chris Baxter’s original scenario notes ,pdf file then slightly changed by WR. The minor WR changes from Chris’s original scenario OOB are noted with red text. For both the American and German off-board field batteries, their independent observer teams are not present on the tabletop, therefore only the senior company commander team, for both sides, can summon (range in) artillery bombardments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scenario Map: Redrawn from Chris Baxter’s original 4×4 foot scenario table map. Normally for WR’s 20mm miniature Flames of War scenarios the tabletop dimensions are increased by 25%, hence the 5×5 foot table from the original 4×4 foot. Another way would have each map square on Chris’s scenario map be 15″ square vs. WR’s redrawn 12″ squares, converting to 5×5 foot scenario tabletop overall dimension. The “A” red table edge marks the German entrance edge for initial forces and follow-up reinforcements. Continue reading

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COE Roman Armies

For the regulars, who stopped by the warren blog this December, may noticed the lack of recent December posts. Even gaming was curtailed for bad weather one weekend here in So. California, and except for two Flames of War games, the month’s time was totally absorbed by the Project. The Project (Roman) was continuance of the Clash of Empires (COE) rules miniature basing and organization effort, started back in 2nd quarter 2018 with the WR’s Chariot era 25/28mm collections, Evenings of planning, organization of miniature units to the Clash of Empires system, glued fingers, worn brushes, trips to the local stiff wire hardware store, and shipping orders arriving on the doorstep, adding to the patio pile of tabletop confusion mentioned in my prior COE miniatures project post. Streamlined now, the quick process results pictured below show the effort involved for six COE Ancient Roman era armies. For background details on the basing, organization, and inventory bookkeeping process, see WR’s previous post:  COE Chariot era armies

The six Ancient Roman Clash of Empires (COE) army collections completed during the Project: Early Rome (Kingdom) & Italian City States, Republican Rome, Late Republican Rome including Caesarian period, Early Imperial Rome, then Middle (2nd / 3rd Century) and Late Imperial Rome armies.

First up is the Early Rome and Italian City State Clash of Empires (COE) collection. These units will fill out the ranks for Rome’s armies or be opponents against the growth of Rome. Still weak in cavalry (or chariots), small tabletop actions like “border” disputes or cattle raids are planned.

Wargamerabbit’s Clash of Empires 25/28mm Early Rome – Italian City States era ancient army collection formed for review as of Dec 2018.

Side view of the Early Rome – Italian City State collection. Italian Greeks at top, Samnites and Romans lower half.

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Russia vs. Poles Training scenario

This AAR comes from a scheduled Thursday evening warren game, structured to familiarize the newer warren players with the club rules napoleonic unit point system, some basic nationalistic army organization, and then field a player chosen “balanced” small corps on the tabletop. Scenario is straight forward meeting engagement, with even points (1700 predetermined points level) per side, fought for twelve active game turns (4 game hours) duration, or less if one side exceeds their MFP corp’s total to be declared defeated.

First a quick overview of the starting chosen order of battle by both player teams, then some brief discussion of the Combat Morale Rating (CMR) rating used in the group games.  CMR is a major component of the club napoleonic rules, game play and interaction mechanics, and foundation of the points system. After CMR discussion, a brief understanding of the how the points system works. But first, the finished order of battles chosen by the two player teams:

The Russian player team fielded a small corps with two infantry divisions and attached mixed cavalry division. Their Corp’s roster included:

Russian Corps HQ with HQ base, ADC’s, military ammo train, baggage group, no attached artillery batteries or units.

Infantry Division: Grenadier regt (2×6 miniature battalions), Jager regt (2×6), four Musketeer regiments (2×6 each), 12-pound positional battery (12 cannon), 6-pound Foot battery (12), two Cossack regiments (1×4 each).

Infantry Division: Two Jager regiments (2×6 each), four Musketeer regiments (2×6 each), 12-pound positional battery (12), 6-pound Foot battery (12).

Cavalry Division: Three Dragoon regiments (1×5 each), Hussar regt. (1×10), Uhlan regt. (1×10), and attached 6-pound Horse battery (12)

Classical Russian organization. Infantry divisions same size of six regiments, with slight difference exchanging one jager regiment for a grenadier in one division. Cavalry in large division organization so a bit unwieldy on the tabletop consisting of hussar, uhlans, and dragoons. Being Russian, the artillery is solid with five large batteries, four foot and one horse. Toss in the two cossack regiments to tease the Polish-Lithuanian uhlans. The complete Russian .xls roster file:  Russia Roster 1812

The Russian small corps is deployed in foreground. The road divided the two infantry divisions, backed by the cavalry division. Corps HQ deployed near the woods and roadway.

The Polish Corps formed as the Russian opponent for the Thursday evening scenario. Like the Russians, the Polish & Lithuanians form two infantry divisions, one Polish and one Lithuanian, and a smaller cavalry division. Not too often you read or see a 1812-13 Lithuanian division on the tabletop, WR likes the odd ball armies. The Polish or Duchy of Warsaw (DOW) and Lithuanian contingent order of battle outlined below:

Polish HQ: HQ base, ADC’s, ammo train, baggage group, and two Polish converged grenadier battalions (2×6).

Polish Infantry Division: Three Line regiment (3×6 each), a Polish Legion regiment (3×9), and two 6-pound Foot batteries (6 cannon each).

Lithuanian Infantry Division: Five Line regiments (2×6 each), two Lithuanian Uhlan regiments (2×5), and two Polish 6-pound Foot batteries (6 cannon each).

Polish Cavalry Division: Two Hussar regiments (2×6) and Lithuanian Uhlan regiment (1×5), with attached 6-pound Horse battery.

The Polish and Lithuanian force seems to be well-balanced and organized on paper roster. Attaching the Lithuanian uhlans to their infantry gives them local cavalry support but somewhat restricts them to the slower infantry movement. The Polish Cavalry division is small, only three regiments so the staying power is weak for numbers, but being hussars, the CMR is high. Artillery ratio good, twelve cannon for each infantry division, but no reserve batteries or heavier artillery cannon then their divisional 6-pounders on the battlefield. The complete Polish – Lithuanian .xls roster file:  Polish Roster 1812

The DOW & Lithuanian corps deployment, DOW infantry division at right of or on the road, Lithuanian infantry division at left. Hussars at far left, all Lithuanian uhlans at right. HQ on roadway.

A side view of the initial deployments. Table size is 6′ width x 5′ depth. Army deployment starts 18″ on table from rear edge for each side.

If desired, the reader can skip the next few paragraphs which detail out the CMR and napoleonic point system working and calculations, and go directly to the AAR report on the colorful tabletop miniature action. Continue reading

Peiper’s Charge 1944 AAR

Peiper’s Charge….WR’s grand convention Flames of War 3rd Edition 20mm scenario for this year’s HMGS-PSW regional Fall Mini Wars convention. Scenario features a winter 1944 Bulge scenario fought along the eighteen foot table (18′ x 5′) length.

The full table scenario set up, all eighteen feet of length. Viewed from the German entrance side towards their distant exit edge.

Opposite view showing the German foreground exit edge towards the distant German entrance at right table corner.

Scenario details: Complete scenario details can be read on WR’s previous post on Peiper’s Charge. Includes the platoon forces for both sides, the extra platoon reinforcements available or suggested to add character to scenario, some terrain details, objective notes, and WR thoughts on the scenario, especially towards play: Peiper’s Charge Introduction and Preparation and Winter Terrain construction.

Having completed the scenario tabletop setup, taken photos of the starting position, having gather the two 4-player teams for a pregame conference to cover the scenario and special FOW rules, WR explained to team German players the need to keep moving forward every turn. For the American player group, figure out any ways to delay and slow the German advance but be aware of the special German bonus movement when American fuel depots are seized. Meeting over, the signal rocket is launched. Scenario AAR commentary on the turn by turn action with Table maps embedded.

Turn One: Germans have first movement and roar onto the tabletop with three chosen platoons (Attack Column rule) plus the starting Fallschirmjager platoon facing down the American roadblock platoon position. Seen by the Americans defending Lanzerath village, the German deploy their SS King Tigers (2x), a SS Panther platoon (4x), the SS SPA Grille battery (6x), and Peiper’s own command SS Panther tank, moving across the “slow going” snowy ground. Starting next to the American forward defenses, the Fallschirmjager platoon clear away the American minefield (one team blown up) and the barbed wire. Positioned to assault now but pinned by the mine explosion, the Fallschirmjagers think hard seeing the prepared Americans manning their HMG in the building and lining the hasty trench work. German stormtrooper movement rolled for each platoon and performed.

Note: All vehicle movement off the road is rated slow going. For most tracked vehicles that is 8″ maximum movement per turn. For jeep teams, WR specially ruled them to have 6″ movement vs. the normal FOW distance of 4″ cross-country. So movement on the roadway is paramount for the Germans to keep to schedule and meet the scenario 25 turn road exit requirement at the table end. All German Stormtrooper rolls are 3+ to succeed during scenario.

Three German platoon enter the tabletop. King Tigers (2x), Panthers (4x) and SPA Grille platoon plus Peiper’s command Panther tank. Fallschirmjager clear away the American defenses.

American see targets everywhere. Their bazooka team miss the mass of German thin armor before them, but the American M! Garand plus a stream of bullets from their HMG cut down two Fallschirmjager teams to bloody the snow dusted ground. To add some insult, they place their booby trap on the Fallschirmjager. Back in the far distant American rear area, American scrap yard tank platoon start their used tank motors and drive quickly towards the front line (Table Three). Over their radio net something about German tanks reported near Lanzerath.

Note: WR error. The booby trap marker can only be placed in own deployment territory or in no mans land. Since the Fallschirmjager hadn’t moved from their starting position, they should have been declared still in their deployment area and no booby trap placement.

American open fire and bump off two Fallschirmjager teams plus deploy their booby trap marker.

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HMGS-PSW Fall Convention

WR attended the regional HMGS-PSW Fall 2018 convention last weekend (held at CA State Fullerton University) and posts a brief report on the variety of miniature gaming here in So. California. The full and complete HMGS-PSW Fall 2018 PEL .pdf, including two days of scheduled games, local hobby stores information, and other local So. California conventions set in future:   Mini Wars 2018

The local Orange County Register newspaper article on the HMGS-PSW convention .pdf file: Tiny Battles

WR photos of the games, in the main hall Pavilion, with a quick late morning walk about during a lull of his Vimeiro 1808 scenario. WR has copied the actual GM PEL description in italicized script for background on the photos and scenario game photographed in progress. In the other main rooms, several very active tournaments of Saga, Bolt Action, Flames of War (4th), and Team Yankee played across multiple tables.

Marston Moor 1944: The Battle of Marston Moor was the largest battle fought on English soil: It was England’s Gettysburg. Our game will be 28mm miniatures using Pike and Shotte rules.

Year 1100 Crusader Castle Assault: This is another San Diego Historical Miniature Wargamers Con quality game! 28mm Crusader Castle assault! The Sword of Islam has taken the city but there are Crusader holdouts in the Citadel. Will the relieving force make it in time before the Citadel is lost? Or will the Saracens keep them at bay while they have a surprise of their own. Scenario loosely based on the final Battle of Jaffa. You need only show up with a good attitude and willingness to have fun! All figures, dice and measuring tools will be supplied! Lion Rampant rules are *very* easy to learn and within 15 minutes you’ll be an expert in the mechanics! Saracen or Crusader, who will take the day?

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Winter Terrain

With the planned WWII Flames of War Peiper’s Charge Bulge scenario set in the winter month of December 1944 and coming up at the local HMGS-PSW regional convention in Fullerton CA, WR took stock of his wintered terrain early last month. Other than an old white bed sheet there was limited suitable terrain to give that “cold” feeling on the tabletop. So it’s time to create, construct, paint, flock, and place in the freezer some terrain…. lots of surface area terrain for a 18′ x 6′ table worth in Peiper’s Charge. Time to call in labor reinforcements too…. aka Daniel, to assist on this winter project. Results of several weekends and after work evenings is written next.

First up is the background ground sheet tabletop cover. Two 5×9′ drop sheet are purchased from Lowes ($12) with a pale tan or buff cloth color. To these laid out sheets WR and Daniel sprays “spots” of light brown and dark brown scattered across the drop cloths. Once dry…. a few minutes in the hot sun did the trick, a light dusting spray of semi-gloss white spray paint applied to blend the spots, especially the dark brown ones. Then after locating an old semi-gloss white paint can, well season ancient paint no doubt, WR and Daniel apply a dry brush scatter effect across the drop cloth using old 2″ stiff brushes. Heavy or light, randomly across the cloth material in different directions. Used semi-gloss to give a “glimmer of ice water” effect. Gloss white paint works too but WR only had semi-gloss. WR already has some large clips to attach the drop cloth edge to the convention tables and smooth out the cloth wrinkles.

The 5′ x 9′ drop cloth given the mentioned texture paintwork.

Basic ground cover done…. time to create some fleece cloths with a similar treatment for the woods (outlining them on the tabletop) and ability to drop down heavy snow drifts or deep snow areas. Purchased some Blizzard white fleece cloth on sale at the local JoAnn store (a fabric and crafts store) during their 50% off sale. WR uses fleece cloth over common felt as it is flexible and more importantly, the loose fabric threads in fleece tend to attach themselves to the textured rough surface drop cloth, wood hills, large terrain tiles, or other terrain WR has in his collection. Helps keep the fleece cloth edge firmly flush on the tabletop and preventing the fleece cloth edge curling up.. Fleece cloth has two nap sides, a smooth nap side and the “rougher” nap side. It is the “rougher” side which is placed face down, to cling to my other terrain when hand pressed during game setup. The fleece smooth nap side is given the terrain paintwork.

First, a random spotting spray of the two brown shades, a lighter tan (off white) color and the dark brown shade on the wood underlay pieces. For the snow drifts or deep snow pieces only the light tan spotted spray effect is done. The darker brown gives effect of deep / shaded wood interior with limited sunlight hitting the ground. Drying in the sun again then WR lightly sprays the tan color against the cutting edge of each individual fleece cloth shape. Some light tan overspray is done on the top surface inwards for about an inch or so, to give the blending effect to the drop cloth and brilliant white fleece material interior thus defusing the brilliant white fleece cloth color to the tan / buff under color of the terrain drop cloths. In other words, avoids the stark hard white line look.

All the cut fleece shapes are laid out on the lawn and the spotted brown and edge paint applied. Note the snow drift or deep snow pieces don’t have the heavy or dark brown spotting effect.

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Battle of Evora 1808

The Battle of Évora (July 29, 1808) faced a French marching division under GD Louis Henri Loison against a combined Portuguese-Spanish force led by GenLt. Francisco de Paula Leite de Sousa, recently appointed by the newly created Portuguese Junta. Encountering General Leite’s smaller division outside Évora, the French easily brushed them aside and went on to storm the city, which was held by poorly armed townsmen and militia, supported by some of the retiring regulars. The French butchered the Portuguese defenders and brutally sacked the town, then marched to Elvas. That sums up the Evora 1808 battle situation but there was more occurring in the Portuguese heartland and later near Lisbon to complete the Evora story.

By the spring of 1808, GD Junot’s position in Portugal was relatively secure. He had been reinforced by 4,000 troops which more than replaced the men who died during the hard marches of the invasion. Of the three French-allied Spanish divisions that had supported GD Junot’s invasion, General Solano’s Spanish troops had returned to Andalusia. However, General Caraffa Spanish stayed in the Lisbon area with 7,000 Spaniards and General Belesta occupied Porto (Oporto) with 6,000 more Spanish. Portugal remained quiet because her army was totally disbanded or integrated into the new French Portuguese Legion sent away from Portugal to fight for Napoleon, her ruling class had mostly fled to Brazil with the Royal family, and her civil authorities submitted too readily to the French military yoke.

Because Portugal’s ports were closed by the British blockade, her wines could no longer be sold to England nor could her goods be traded to Brazil. Casks of port and wine barrels stacked up around the docks or warehouses. The French tried to assist, putting 10,000 persons to work in the arsenal and shipyard, but Lisbon soon filled with large numbers of unemployed people who thronged the streets begging. A communication dispatch from Napoleon arrived in May ordering Junot to send 4,000 troops to Ciudad Rodrigo to support Marshal Jean-Baptiste Bessières in the north of Spain, and 8,000 more to link up with GD Pierre Dupont de l’Étang in Andalusia. Seems these were the last Imperial instructions to reach Portugal from Paris or Napoleon.

The Spanish Dos de Mayo uprising against the French completely altered the situation. When news of the revolt reached Porto on June 6th, Spanish General Belesta seized as prisoners the governor of the city GD François Jean Baptiste Quesnel, his staff, and his 30-man cavalry escort. The Spanish general assembled the city of Porto’s leadership and urged them to form a junta government to resist the French occupation. Loyally obeying the orders of the new northern Galician Junta, General Belesta marched his corps (division) away to join the northern Spanish armies. For a week, after the Spanish troops left, Porto’s young Junta leaders did nothing. Some even sent secret letters to GD Junot, professing their loyalty to the French occupation force, or like the French empowered military governor, took down the Portuguese national flag flying from the Porto citadel. But nearby, finding the French occupation forces gone or marched away, Trás-os-Montes province rose in revolt between June 9 and 12. At the city of Bragança, retired Portuguese General Manuel Jorge Gomes de Sepúlveda was selected as the regional revolt commander, while Colonel Francisco Silveira was chosen to lead the (re)forming Portuguese battalions at Vila Real, having been disbanded when the French took control in 1807.

General Sepulveda and Portugal revolt 1808.

Informed of General Belesta’s actions then defection on June 9, GD Junot planned to disarm General Caraffa’s Spanish division in central Portugal, before they could join the Spanish or Portuguese armed revolt. Sent orders to arrive at GD Junot’s headquarters, the Spanish general was placed in military custody. Caraffa’s troops were either directed to appear at French military reviews or to shift garrison positions. While marching to carry out these orders, they were encircled without warning by French troops and made prisoners of war. Only the Reina Light Cavalry Regiment, when its colonel disregarded his instructions, escaped northward to Porto. Detachments of the Murcia and Valencia Infantry Regiments also got away, fleeing eastward to the spanish city of Badajoz. But GD Junot caught the vast majority Caraffa’s 6,000 soldiers and put them aboard prison hulks in Lisbon’s harbor. French officers in charge of the forts had orders to sink the vessels if the prisoners tried to escape. The Spaniards were only released after the signing of the Convention of Cintra.

On June 16th, the rebellion spread to the south, when the Portuguese town of Olhão in Algarve province rose against the French. On the 18th, the citizens of Faro followed suit. The French governor of Algarve, GB Antoine Maurin was seized in his sick-bed and, together with 70 French soldiers, bundled on board a British warship as military prisoners, some noted, to save their lives. Colonel Jean-Pierre Maransin gathered the one battalion each of the Légion du Midi and the 26th Line Infantry Regiment that served as the garrison of Algarve. With these 1,200 men, GB Maransin withdrew to Mértola. The local insurgent mobs did not pursue but no doubt claimed their victory and toasted with the excess wine.

Interior courtyard of the Museu Militar de Lisboa, the former Portuguese Royal Arsenal site. Well worth a visit if in Lisbon. there are halls of equipment, cannon, portraits, and research documents covering many eras.

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