OrcCon Feb 2018

During the President day weekend WR travelled to Strategicon – OrcCon 2018 to run two different era games with Daniel. Before presenting the AAR for the Flames of War 1945 Operation Overcast revisit and Battle of Halle 1806 revisit, WR presents some photos of the historical games while walking around the convention ballroom and event details from PEL.

Team Yankee Invitational Tournament Day 1 and 2Team Yankee – GM Troy Hill

Day 1 (Rounds 1, 2, & 3) of the Team Yankee Invitational Tournament. You must contact the game master at troyphoto7@gmail.com to receive instructions on how to register for this event. Two day, five round tourney. 70 points for day 1, 85 points for day 2.

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Battle of Halle 1806 Revisited

At the recent President’s Day weekend  at the Strategicon – OrcCon 2018 convention, Daniel and WR re-staged the Battle of Halle 1806 historical scenario. To avoid repeating text, details on this historical napoleonic scenario can be read on previous WR articles posted here on Wargamerabbit:  Battle of Halle 1806 background  and  Battle of Halle 1806 AAR

Set up and opening movements for the French followed the previous Halle 1806 game. But this time the Prussian Advance guard… or Rearguard brigade in reality, retired quickly into Halle and defended the last bridge crossing. French light cavalry movement quickly triggered the release of one Prussian reserve command by crossing the Saale river early, threatening the Prussian left hand infantry division in reserve, Shortly after releasing the Prussian left hand infantry division, the entire Prussian Reserve Corps was released by French 1st division infantry entering Halle proper, thus being the second French command to cross the Saale river. Unfortunately, the “early” release of the entire Prussian Reserve Corps allowed them to march northward unimpeded while the French 1st then 2nd Infantry Divisions were delayed within the town walls of Halle. Small Prussian reinforcement (brigade size) fed into Halle proper, joined the hard pressed Prussian fusilier battalions and hold the French infantry in check. By containing the French in Halle, the bulk of the Prussian infantry and, more importantly their military trains and baggage, reaching the critical crossroads outside the Steinthor town gate without incident. At that point the French, except for two weak cavalry regiments, had little in the path of the massed Prussian northward movement and ability to prevent the exit of all Prussian trains. A Prussian victory was declared unlike the historical result.

Halle scenario map drawn to each map square is 12″ on tabletop or 600 yards (50 yds to inch scale).

French OOB with unit size (battalion. cavalry regiment or detachment, or battery / train). The Combat Morale Rating (CMR) on 1 to 10 scale, with 10 being the highest rating.

Following is a quick WR report, using photos, of the OrcCon convention napoleonic Halle 1806 scenario game. Daniel, Don, and Alex had the French side. Braden and WR played the Prussian position. Each turn is 20 minutes and three turns per game scenario hour.

1000 hours: I Corps, 1st Division (GD Dupont) approaches the covered bridge causeway with I Corps light cavalry brigade under GB Tilly. 2nd Division lower left corner and Prussian Advance Guard (von Hinrichs) at bridge entrance.

Rest of Prussians rest in their encampment area under Reserve orders. They cannot move north past the Liepziger Turm without French commands actually crossing Saale river to eastern bank.

French 1st Division (Dupont) approaches the Prussian outposts (hussar detachment) while the other Prussian units slowly retire across the covered bridge causeway into Halle.

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Ludendorff Bridge 1945 Preparation

WR intends to use this updating blog post to show some of the steps WR completes to bring his Remagen Ludendorff bridge 1945 Flames of War (20mm) scenario to life. Each week WR hopes to update this blog article with news of forward progress towards the Remagen Ludendorff bridge scenario, the unit miniatures needed or painted from bare plastic or lead, reference material collected, scenario written up, model and terrain construction, and the long list of small but incremental steps towards a “hoped for” successful scenario game, playtested sometime late March or early April, and featured at the Memorial day regional LAX convention.

Look for the dated updates [xx/xx/2018] below as WR adds to article text.

Previously WR had posted the complete scenario outline and commentary for changes. The Flames of War (FOW) Ludendorff bridge scenario link on WR:  Remagen Ludendorff Bridge 1945

While WR takes inventory of the miniature requirements and what he has already painted in his WWII 20mm American and German collections this weekend, he starts with the basic tabletop terrain requirements. There is the Rhine river itself to simulate, a steel beam long railroad bridge, converted to vehicle transit, two river stone piers, a ramp rise and overcrossing for the rail line to and from the bridge, a railroad tunnel outlined by a cut stone opening into a high but somewhat climb-capable hill with rear uphill roadway, a sunken or anchored river barge(s), some woods, and two separated villages or built up areas. The roads, buildings, and woods WR has in his wargame terrain collection….. the other terrain will need to be constructed.

The scenario map. For WR’s scenario game the squares are 12″ deep and 15″ wide to create a 25% increase in tabletop width due to the use of 20mm scale miniatures.

02/26/2018] First the four towers flanking the four corners of the bridge. WR looked around and found on Ebay these foam cemetery vase inserts ($3 each) which are 8″ tall and 3.5″ wide at base, tapering to 2.75″ at inverted top (base). WR applied a light cost of drywall spackling to fill in the airy holes found in the form and smooth out the foam nicks. Once dry, sand to create a smooth finish then “file out” the stonework grooves and notches to taste. See photos below for example of technique.

Applying a light cover coat of drywall spackling to fill in the foam “airy holes and any nicks or dents. Once dry lightly sand to smooth texture using a sanding block for drywall work.

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Battles of Nola 216-214 BC

Catching up with the two month backlog of WR gaming activities. At the end of YR 2017, on the last gaming saturday of December, WR drove south to join several friends for a Clash of Arms (COE) 28mm ancients game. David our host had designed a Roman-Carthaginian 214-216 BC battle based from the Hannibal campaigns around the roman city of Nola.

First a little background before the COE game scenario report posted below. Digging about on the internet we found Nola was one of the oldest cities of Campania, its coinage bearing the name Nuvlana. Generally thought as been founded by the Ausones, who were certainly occupying the city by c. 560 BC. During the Roman invasion of Naples in 328 BC, Nola was probably occupied by the Oscans in alliance with the Samnite allies, from which the Romans took the city in 311 BC, during the Samnite War. Later, Nola and nearby Capua rivaled each other as “cities of luxury” south of Rome during the years of peace before the arrival of Hannibal and his army.

The historical city of Nola was the site of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Battles of Nola during Hannibal‘s invasion of Italy amid the Second Punic War. On two occasions (215 and 214 BC), it was defended by Consul Marcellus and his roman army. After the departure of Hannibal from Italy, the city returned to their business trade pursuits. Falling to treason, the Samnites controlled the city during the Social War. They held it until their ally Gaius Marius was defeated by Lucius Cornelius Sulla, who subjugated it with the rest of Samnium in 80 BC. It was stormed by Spartacus and his army of slaves during his failed slave revolt to worsen their lot a decade later. Though a relative backwater city by now in history, Nola retained its status as a municipium, its own institutions, and the use of the Oscan language during this period of Roman history. It was divided into pagi, the names of some of which are still preserved to this present day: Pagus Agrifanus, Capriculanus, Lanitanus for examples.

Campaign map for 216 – 214 BC (.doc):  Nola map

Many people think Hannibal’s won all his battles and suffered his only defeat at the battle of Zama near Carthage. That is false. Hannibal himself was held in 3 inconclusive battles outside the city walls of Nola during the 2nd Punic War Italian campaign. All were tactical stalemates, somewhat uncommon for the Punic warfare period, but allowed Republican Rome to regain its momentum against the recent Carthaginian victory on the bloody battlefield of Cannae. Continue reading

Battle of Arronches 1801

Follow up from WR’s War of the Oranges previous post, this article covers the historical Battle of Arronches May 26,1801, pitting the Spanish “ancient regime” army against the Portuguese “ancient regime” army. Geographically, Arronches is a small Portuguese town located midpoint between the border towns of Portalegre and Campo Maior. a local center of orange and other fruit grove production, and a stop on the dusty Portuguese road. Apart from the well constructed Covento de Senora de Luz and the Igreja de Nossa Senhora Assuncao da Luz buildings, there was little to shine a light on behind the white wash walls, surrounded on almost three sides by the wet season / dry season Caia river. To pinpoint the town, WR provides an old Portugal map dated 1801 and drawn by John Gary below.

1801 map of Portugal drawn by John Cary and published in 1808.

Link to the actual John Cary map of Portugal to allow expanded viewing:  Portugal 1801 map

Theater of war in 1801. WR highlights the towns mentioned in the Arronches 1801 article. Expanded view from the John Cary 1801 drawn map of Portugal. Badajoz at right edge.

Modern day Arronches viewed from the northwest or the supposed Portuguese army position across the Caia river.

Historically, the battle of Arronches 1801 was a small action. A Portuguese an hoc brigade was nearly surprised by a “fast marching” Spanish force mostly taken from their Vanguard division near the siege lines of Campo-Maior. Players of the historical battle could simply use the outlined forces and see if they recreate the fate of the Reina Maria Luisa cazadores regiment fight and subsequent rout while chanting “Run Away Mary (Maria) for their earned new nickname. Charging across a stone bridge unsupported into the Portuguese defense should create the same result.

Known Spanish units facing the Portuguese historically at Arronches in 1801 were: Reina Maria Luisa Cazadoes (later hussars), Gerona Light regiment (battalion), 1st Volunteers de Catalonia Light regiment (battalion), Cazadores Voluntararios de la Corona Light regiment (battalion), plus a single battery of artillery. Across the Caia river the Portuguese regiments are unknown but could come from the following units for a brigade sized command, a cavalry regiment or two, and a small artillery battery attached: Continue reading

War of the Oranges 1801

The May-June 1801 War of the Oranges, or Guerra de las Naranjas in Spanish, was fought in the eastern border region of Portugal, Lasting only 18 days from the initial war declaration to the signing of the Treaty of Badajoz, Spanish military forces, instigated by the government of France under First Consul Bonaparte, and from afar supported by a late arriving French military “corps” in theater, invaded Portugal near the fortress border town of Elvas. Military contact between the armed forces of Portugal and Spain was limited to quick sieges of local Portuguese fortified towns or the main siege of the Elvas border fortress except for a brief mention by Manuel de Godoy about “defeating a Portuguese division” near Arronches. More on that “divisional action” later….

Manuel Godoy reclining during the War of the Oranges. The famous painter Goya painted Godoy in this un-warlike pose.

The war came about when First Consul Bonaparte and his ally, the Spanish prime-minister and Generalissimo Manuel de Godoy, demanded Portugal, the last British ally on the continent, to break her alliance with Britain. History will repeat itself again later with the Franco-Spanish marching back into Portugal in 1807, they must have loved the oranges. Portugal refused to cede to the Franco-Spanish demands as standard state policy between Portugal and Spain, and, in late May 1801, French regional detachment troops started to arrive at the northern Franco-Spanish border, preparing to march quickly through the warm summer of Spain towards the Portuguese border. Meanwhile, Spanish regiments under the command of Diego de Godoy (brother of Manuel de Godoy), who commanded the Spanish Army of Extremadura of five divisions, mustered themselves near the Spanish-Portuguese border, in particular near Badajoz of later fame.

Period map of the area and Spanish border. To understand the map, “north” is to the right so the top edge is “west”, the bottom is “east”, and the left direction “south”. The modern-day disputed territory is the “finger” of Olivenca east (below) of the river Guadiana present day border.

The Spanish cross-border attack to Portugal started on the early morning of the 20th of May, and focused on the Portuguese Elvas border region that included the main garrison town and fortifications of Elvas and the smaller fortified towns of Campo Maior, Olivença (Olivenza in Spanish) and Juromenha at start. Typical ancient regime warfare… go for the fortresses and watch the enemy army, which for Portugal, was hasty marched into their eastern half of the country, as their militia fortress garrisons dusted off the cannon when war seemed imminent.

From the Cary map of Portugal 1801. WR has highlighted the named towns of Portugal with a red box. Badajoz is near right edge marked as “Bad…”

Modern overhead view of the historical town of Elvas. Clearly the outline of the town fortifications can be seen, including the hornwork upper right. Google Elvas fortress for more.

View of the old fortress of Juromenha from the land side. The other side faces the Guadiana river and Spanish border.

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Ludendorff Bridge 1945

Recent communication with a fellow gamer has drawn renewed attention to the old Flames of War Remagen or Ludendorff Bridge scenario featured in the July 2014 issue (#321) of Wargamer Illustrated. WR remembers reading this scenario but at the time had no late war American Pershing tanks to play out the scenario. Now, several years later, the American tank pool is vast and deep, including the Pershing tank 20mm miniatures required in the scenario American force. So, looking for a small scenario to hopefully play this holiday period, basically and somewhat with the flavor of the historical action, and having a trestle bridge to feature on the tabletop, the scenario green light is lit. Just need to manufacture the four grey stone towers bookmarking the bridge corners.

Painting of the crossing the Remagen (Ludendorff) bridge. (US Army)

Background material on this historical late war battle is easily found with quick internet keyboard taps. To start the process WR found quick reading for background for the approach battle, the bridge engagements, and the resulting American bridgehead created. The Wikipediaa article on Battle of Remagen 1945, information on the actual Ludendorff Bridge, and from the US Army ETO historical record “The Last Offensive” (chapter eleven page 208) covering Operation Lumberjack; the Battle of Remagen, the approach to Remagen, and Rhine river east bank bridgehead actions after capture of the Ludendorff bridge (.pdf): CMH The Last Offensive. Check out the web site covering the V2 rockets and German efforts to destroy the bridge. Excellent site for Remagen photos, historical documents, and first hand reports of events during the battle:  V2 Rockets at Remagen

The 27th Armored Infantry battalion, part of CCB of 9th Armored Division, approached Remagen from the heights above the town. After fighting into the town, the stage is set for the famous battle for control of the Ludendorff Bridge and the scenario.

The complete scenario from Wargames Illustrated issue 321 (July 2014) article for the Remagen or Ludendorff Bridge Flames of War (FOW) scenario (.pdf): Ludendorff Bridge 1945 Scenario Continue reading